I love this Dilbert comic on Leadership because it so poignantly portrays how good intentions tend to slip between the cracks as busyness increases. Working in a corporate environment myself, I have found this to be true of myself more times then I would like to admit, and have also had it happen to me from time to time. It is the desire of any person to have strong leadership and to genuinely feel like their manager or boss cares about their well being. Too often, if we are not careful, the bottom line can crush the very people who are the company’s greatest asset! William Arthur Ward stated it perfectly when he said:
All of us have to decide what will be most important in our lives. Whatever you value, will have the highest priority in your company, organization and personal life. Here is a great illustration of the difference between being a “boss” and being a “leader!”
We have all had a boss like this, that believes “cracking the whip” on the “subordinates” is the only way to accomplish the goal. But a true leader gets in front, and helps “shoulder the load” with the rest of the team! If the latter could be the rule, instead of the exception, employees would stop feeling like they are in bondage, and instead feel valued, empowered and ready to work their heart out…Which ultimately will increase the bottom line!
So the question is, how does a company achieve success which keeps everyone employed, while also bringing fulfillment and satisfaction to those who are performing the work? John Maxwell has what I think is probably the best way to develop the people who you lead called the “The 101 Principle”…
So the question is…when power comes your way, what approach will we take? Will you be a “boss,” and drive those under you to perform or will you be a “leader,” treating people with respect and making them feel as part of a team? Ultimately, you will either devalue or add value…That’s the bottom line!
Do you remember playing the game “Telephone” when you were a kid? As I think back on my elementary school days, I recall so vividly the excitement in the room as we played with a bunch of people; and as the message was passed on in a whisper by each person, how the anticipation grew about what the final version was going to be. It never ceased to amaze me, how when the message was revealed, it was often radically different from the original word or phrase. I think that understanding people is a lot like that.
As an architect, I need to coordinate with many different people in order to bring together a building project. At times it is quite challenging trying to bring together the stakeholders to achieve a consensus on what direction to go in. On one of my projects, the contractor sent me this hysterical pictorial of a construction project as it is viewed by each member of the team.
I love this so much because it is a great illustration of how different people can view the same thing and understand it completely different. I once heard this definition which I think defines it perfectly…
“Understanding is a three-edged sword. Your side, my side, and the truth.” J. Michael Straczynski
The key to understanding people in every situation is seeing all three edges…meaning there is your side, their side and the truth. In business and in life, many times the objective or information that is passed on by a number of people, just like in the game of Telephone, becomes distorted in the process…The Message is diluted because of a lack of understanding.
If you are lacking in understanding here is a great prayer to pray to God that requires wisdom from James 1:5 (ESV) says:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
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Have you seen the movie “HEAVEN IS FOR REAL”? It is based on the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. IT WAS INCREDIBLE!
There is much debate on the validity of whether Colton really went to Heaven or not…this Thought for the Day is not intended to open that discussion but rather to explore the idea of Childlike Humility which I think we can all agree our culture desperately needs to develop.The film showed how Todd Burpo went through every imaginable storm a person could go through…financial, personal illness and injury and worst of all almost losing his four-year-old son, Colton who claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Todd and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning from this remarkable event. The movie realistically depicted the struggle that they all went through to process this extraordinary experience of their little boy’s trip to heaven and back. Well worth the price of admission! My kids said the book is even better! I love this quote from the book that describes what childlike humility is:
“What is childlike humility? It’s not the lack of intelligence, but the lack of guile. The lack of an agenda. It’s that precious, fleeting time before we have accumulated enough pride or position to care what other people might think. The same un-self-conscious honesty that enables a three-year-old to splash joyfully in a rain puddle, or tumble laughing in the grass with a puppy, or point out loudly that you have a booger hanging out of your nose, is what is required to enter heaven. It is the opposite of ignorance—it is intellectual honesty: to be willing to accept reality and to call things what they are even when it is hard.”
I think that Todd Burpo nailed it!! The debate may go on whether Colton really went to heaven or not but it is for sure that Heaven is for Real!!! And the scriptures are clear that we need to have “faith like a child” which is the key to eternal life! In Matthew 18:3 (NASB) Jesus said,
Be humble enough to accept that God is so much bigger than you and that you will never “know everything”…just have faith and trust Him, for God loved you so much that He sacrificed His own son Jesus so that you and I would have eternal life in heaven! Embrace childlike humility and accept Jesus as your savior.
I think this is a question everyone asks at some point or another. Knowing who you are and what you are about is key. I read this quote from Thomas Jefferson that is amazing:
I love that thought, ACTION will delineate and define you! Did you know that Thomas Jefferson is referred to as “America’s Renaissance Man” because he was one of the most accomplished presidents in American History. Thomas Jefferson was a president, politician, inventor, author, educator, lawyer, architect, and philosopher. If anyone would know the key to success he would!!
I will close with this final thought from Pablo Picasso,
“Action is the foundational key to all success.”
You want to know who you are, you want to be successful? Then don’t waste time polling those around you…ACT!
Last night we rented from Redbox, “The Lego Movie” with the kids and it was great the second time around! Besides cuddling with my 10 year daughter who was thrilled when I came home with the DVD, it is so good. I initially was skeptical about the movie but I came out singing this highly addictive song “Everything is Awesome!” If you have not heard this song, you can watch it at the bottom of this post…you will be singing it within minutes…you can thank me later when you are driving everyone around you crazy…hahaha!
The Lego Movie is about Emmet, an ordinary LEGO figure, who lives an ordinary life – without much consequence / achievements whatsoever. As it unfolds, he is mistakenly thought to be the “extraordinary MasterBuilder” and is recruited to join a quest to stop the evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together. The movie chronicles the Emmet’s transition from ordinary to extraordinary, but it was not a result of new powers, imparted intelligence or added tools…instead it was from a change to of attitude! When Emmit started believing in himself nothing was impossible!
There are a lot of great nuggets that can be gleaned from this movie for our professional and personal lives. You have heard the cliché, “Attitude is Everything”…well it really is true. But if I am being honest, just because you say “everything is awesome” (or sing it in the case of the Lego Movie), does not make it true. There are plenty of things in life to weigh you down and stop you from reaching your potential. But the key is what your attitude or response to the circumstance that will define you. I have seen this time and time again in my life, that when I have focused on the positives (which there are many), and pushed through the negative aspects, it was amazing what I achieved. The same is true for believing in yourself…that attitude can take you a lot further than your natural talent or skills ever can. Plus it is infectious! No one wants to be around a “Debbie Downer”…(you may remember the Saturday Night Live character portrayed by Rachel Dratch). A positive attitude can change not only whether a project is successful, but more importantly, whether a team will “gel” together and build the comradery that is necessary to keep a company moving forward. W. Clement Stone once said:
I’m not sure what is defining you today…but I want to encourage you to focus on the positive aspects in your life and watch what will happen!
★★ If you would like to hear this highly addictive song “EverythingIsAWESOME!!!” click here…
“By the simplest definition, architecture is the design of buildings, executed by architects. However, it is more. It is the expression of thought in building. It is not simply construction, the piling of stones or the spanning of spaces with steel girders. It is the intelligent creation of forms and spaces that in themselves express an idea.”
As an Architect by vocation, this quote beautifully captures what an architect is. Ultimately though, before any piling of stones or spanning of girders, a tremendous amount of decisions and problem solving must occur. In both architecture and in life, I believe to be successful, these skills are paramount.
And that leads us to, what are you the Architect of? Life is a series of decisions that we have to make, so….what choices are you making in your career and in your personal life?
On A Minute with Maxwell, the Word was “Choices.” John Maxwell quoted one of my favorite John Wooden quotes….
“In the end, the choice you make makes you.” I love that so much! That goes far deeper than just what career direction to go in or where you spend your 40+ hours a week….it really speaks of the level of integrity that you will walk out in your everyday life. And it puts the responsibility right where it belongs…on me. And on you. What choices are you making today that down the road you will be thankful for? Are there choices you are making that will become regrets, or areas that you are compromising in? I think that for many people this quote is unfortunately all to true…
I would like to flip it around and look at it this way…that “I’m the Architect of my own success”….Each one of us has the power to choose a life marked by integrity and honesty, but of course just like in Architecture, you have to be intelligent in what decisions you make. Nothing changes if nothing changes. I will close with final quote…
“The choices we make, almost always determine the level of success we have.” John Maxwell
Edward Young penned these words in the 1600’s and it is so true! I cannot imagine how much time I have wasted doing the things that were inconsequential, while putting off what had to be done…whether it be a term paper, waking up on time for class, (or now for work), or getting the project deadline completed. I am the chief offender when it comes to procrastinating.
On “A Minute with Maxwell,” the Word of the Day was “PROCRASTINATION,” I could not wait to hear what John Maxwell had to say on the topic. Do you know it took me 2 days to watch it?? Seriously, I put off watching a 60 second message on Procrastination! I jest about this, but he made a great point, one which I want to be true of my life! John Maxwell said:
“What I learned about Procrastination is very simple, it never works, and that there is never a convenient moment…People that are highly successful have disciplined themselves and they have conquered the habit of procrastination and they know the power of initiating. Do it now! Let that be your mantra!”
This “Thought of the Day” is really for me…highly successful people do not procrastinate! What will you do different today?
What Does Your Schedule Look? That is a question that I ask, and that I am asked everyday, several times a day. Scheduling is critical for the success of any project. However too often, additional time is required in order to get things done. Whenever talking with younger staff, I always try to steer them in the direction of “work–life balance. ” You ask, what is that, right?
In today’s technologically advanced workplace processes, the notion of having balance between an individual’s work and personal life seems impossible. Emails, laptops/iPads, and cellphones, enable us to accomplish work beyond the physical boundaries of the office but simultaneously makes a personal life almost non-existent. If you’re not careful, responding to emails or voice mails after-hours or during the weekend can wreak havoc on your health because you don’t have focused or sustained “down time.” Lack of balance can also jeopardize your relationships with your friends, spouse and/or children.
Bill Hybels made this profound statement in regards to this,
I could not agree with that more! We all have to decide for ourselves, what will our schedule look like, because in the end what you choose to allow to dominate your schedule will affect everything and everyone in your life.
On numerous occasions, I remember my mother saying “Experience is the Best Teacher.” I did a little digging and found that the great Roman leader Julius Caesar recorded the earliest known version of this proverb, “Experience is the teacher of all things,” (c. 52 B.C.). But my favorite rendition of this expression is from the J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” where he penned these words that I have quoted over and over…
I am a firm believer that “the burned hand teaches best,” experience; especially the mistakes are the best teachers. I have learned far more from my failures then I ever did from my successes. I think that is because, when embarrassment, disappointments or pain happens in our lives, the brain registers, and remembers that emotion much clearer than our greatest victory. Mistakes and failures are going to happen, and sometimes we may have to take a couple steps back, and regroup in order to move forward again, but the key is, don’t miss this…that if we learn from our “burned hand,” we will end up becoming far wiser and stronger had the failure never happened!
The question is, what will you do when failure happens?