Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Together   Leave a comment

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Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to complete a task if you have someone to do it with you?  Today there was a task which needed to be completed at the house.  It was a task that could easily be done by one person, in fact, that is usually the case.  But today two of us worked on the task together.  When we were done I realized how much easier the task seemed.  I also was pleased with how less time was needed to complete the task.

Now, all that I have shared may seem obvious.  However, I think that often times we forget the benefits of doing tasks with others.  So we choose to grumble about doing the task and spend much more time completing it.  There is little wisdom in doing some tasks alone.  In addition to making a task less burdensome, another benefit is that you are able to spend time with another person which is always a positive.  If you are the one who initiates the work, ask another person to join you in its completion.  If you are the person who is not responsible for the task, ask the one who is if you could help them.  Both of you will benefit in the long run.

My challenge for all of my readers today is to share the work.  Identify opportunities for you do to tasks with another.  I promise you, it will make your work much more enjoyable.

Posted September 22, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life, Work

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Boldly Go   Leave a comment

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I grew up watching episodes of the TV series, Star Trek.  As I was pondering what thoughts to share, the opening declaration of the mission for the U.S.S. Enterprise came into my mind:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

I think that the reason this came into my mind is because lately I have been giving a lot of thought to what it means to be a leader and person living in these times.  First, let me say that I do not think we are that unique in having to live in changing times.  Yes, there is some uniqueness regarding the particulars of the changes during our time but this is not the first time there have been significant societal shifts.

As I ponder these words from a 1960’s television series, I am drawn to the final words in the statement, “to boldly go where no man (sic) has gone before.”  I would naturally change it to say “where no one has gone before.”  The key here for me is “to boldly go.”  So many people just allow the time and the changes to take them along.  However, I think it is important to change the way we maneuver through these times.  I think that we need to have the courage to go boldly into these changing times.

For me, the only way that I can obtain that courage is to realize where my hope and confidence finds its source….. the Lord.  I believe that the Lord is more than capable of handling whatever changes take place.  I believe that my strength, courage, and ability comes directly from the Lord.  I believe that my only true hope is found in the Lord.  So with these beliefs, I strive to boldly go where others may not have gone.

Lone Ranger   Leave a comment

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Growing up, I used to watch reruns of a show called, “The Lone Ranger.”  Only as I have grown older have I realized that the title of the show was inaccurate.  The title implies that one man is out there riding to save the day.  The Lone Ranger was the “good guy” of the wild west.  He always seemed to be at the right place to find out about a problem which needed fixed.  He would fight the bad guys and always ensure justice.  He protected people and established safety from the bad guys.  However, unlike the title my suggest, he never did it alone.  The person that received second building but was an equal, and maybe even at times a greater, partner was Tonto.  Tonto was the Lone Ranger’s trusted companion who walked into danger with him and was instrumental in apprehending the bad guys.

I think of this show today because of thoughts regarding how sometimes we approach challenges in life.  I know that many times we have the belief that we have to overcome challenges alone.  We take on the mentality that we have to “fix” the problem because it is our problem and no one else is going to be able to resolve it.  As a leader, I have fallen into this trap more times than I would like to admit.  However, this perspective comes more out of ego than it does any reality.

Over the years, I have worked to modify my leadership style to be more collaborative and less “Lone Ranger.”  I strive to build strong teams that will work alongside and challenge my perspectives and potential solutions.  When I have developed this collaborative approach, I find that wonderful things happen.  Solutions that I never though of emerge.  Usually the newly emerged solutions are far superior to the ones that I fashioned in my own mind.  I have found that having Tontos in my life make the challenges less burdensome.

The challenge that remains for me is in my personal life.  I have been less successful in abandoning the Lone Ranger approach in this aspect.  So over the last year, I have used this as a growing point in my life.  I have included more individuals in my life who can give me insights and perspectives which I cannot obtain on my own.  I have been discovering Tontos who can walk alongside me, challenge me, and offer wisdom from their experiences and perspectives.  This is still definitely a work in progress.

So my question to you is:  Are you being a Lone Ranger?  If so, take off your mask, find a Tonto, and learn to share the load.  Afterall, even the original Lone Ranger really was not “Lone.”

Back to the Original   2 comments

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One of the realities that leaders have to accept is that not always is a group willing to be led.  This can be a very difficult reality for a leader to get their arms around.  However, if a leader tries to deny this, the leader will become frustrated and may even doubt her/his leadership abilities.  A leader is not a leader without people who are ready to follow the lead.  Sometimes you must guide a group with a gentle lead and other groups require much stronger leads but ultimately either approach is only successful to the point that the group is open to being led.

This is not a new concept in any way.  I think this is exactly the point that Jesus was trying to make over and over again.  He even told his disciples as he prepared to send them out:  “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”  (Matthew 10:14, NIV)  Jesus was a great leader but also realized that sometimes people do not desire to be led and there is nothing a leader can do at that point except to move to another group of people.

The other reality that a leader must accept that if a group does not wish to change, they may present an image of change but the minute the leader moves on, everything returns to the state in which they were prior to the leader’s arrival.  This also can be very disheartening because it can cause a leader to think their work was all in vain.  The image that comes to mind is that of a 1970’s toy called Stretch Armstrong.  This toy was made of a material which could stretch but as soon as you let go of it, everything would return back to its original form.  So a person could pull the toy’s arms or legs in all kinds of directions and create what appeared to be changes to the toy but as soon as you let go of those extremities, the toy returned to its original shape.

I think the lesson in these situations is to realize each of them can and probably will happen during your tenure as a leader.  However, do not let them discourage you.  Learn from each situation and determine if there was something you could have done differently to have a more lasting and clear impact on the group.  Sometimes the answer is that nothing different could have been done.  Also, remember that while the group as a whole may not have truly changed, there are individuals within the group who may have changed.

Perfected   1 comment

We live in an imperfect world and we are imperfect people.  I really do not think that I have shared anything which is an earth-shattering truth in the very first sentence of this post.  Nor am I sharing any new revelation with any of you which you did not already know.  However, I wonder how often we forget this reality.  I wonder how often we expect perfection and become upset when either ourselves or someone else show imperfection.

This morning when I came to my office I encountered a laundry list of issues with the state of the building.  I was out of the office yesterday and there was activity here last night.  Now, this is not the first time that I have encountered situations such as this one.  My reaction was from the gut and I would have to admit that it was less than a positive reaction.  I spent the first fifteen minutes of the time in my office correcting the issues which I discovered.  Again, this was not part of my early arrival plans so my frustration was building with each correction I made.  When I actually was able to sit down at my desk, I wanted to impulsively send an email to the individual responsible for the building last night and share my displeasure.  However, something (or should I say someone) held me back and led me to wait until I had returned from my morning coffee time.  I am grateful that I made that decision.  While I still intend to follow-up on the issues with the appropriate person, I have determined a different way to do that follow-up.

For me what made the change was something which arose during my morning devotions.  I was looking at a passage from the Bible which included a statement from Jesus about the promise of the resurrection.  When most people think about a bodily resurrection, they are not convinced that they want to have their current physical body resurrected.  They often list all the imperfections which they have identified with their current body.  These people are fine with the concept of spiritual resurrection but shy away from the idea of the bodily resurrection which we who believe in Christ include in our understandings.  I think the issue here is the hope of everything being perfect in the presence of God and that the way they understand their physical bodies as imperfect does not fit with their desire to be perfect in the presence of God.

The key here for me is to realize that the Spirit has the power and does perfect the imperfect us.  Even at the point of our spiritual resurrection, our spirit is not perfect.  Our spirit is marred and marked by the sin of our life.  However, the Spirit perfects our spirit when Jesus places the cloak of righteousness on us as we are spiritually resurrected.  If the Lord can do this with our spirit, how do we think the Lord is any less capable of perfecting our bodies at the point of our bodily resurrection.

Yes, we are imperfect.  We are imperfect inside and out.  However, the Spirit of the Lord is capable of perfecting us.  This is important truth that we must keep in mind as we deal with one another and as we consider the promise of the resurrection.

So I want to leave you with these reminders:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, NIV)

Your Blue Jay   Leave a comment

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This morning I was watching for a brief period of time an encounter between a blue jay and a squirrel in the tree outside my office.  I have learned that blue jays are quite an aggressive bird.  They seem to be the bullies in the bird world.  So while they have beautiful color on the outside, they do not have the same kind of beauty on the inside.  As I watched this encounter between the squirrel and the blue jay, I heard both of them making quite a lot of noise.  It was clear that they were not easily going to coexist in the tree.  Both of them seemed ready to take the other on and movement closer together occurred in intervals.  Eventually, the blue jay must have decided that taking on the squirrel in a physical way was not the wisest move so the bird flew out of the tree and to the ground below.  The squirrel moved down the branches so that it could continue to posture and yell at the blue jay.  This round was clearly won by the squirrel.

After watching this encounter, it made me ponder what I mentioned earlier – blue jays are the bullies of the bird world.  I thought about the bullies who I have encountered in my life.  I am pretty sure that all of us have had bullies in our lives.  These are the people who tend to make a lot of noise and can say and do some pretty damaging things to other people.  Some of them our outwardly aggressive.  Others use passive aggressive techniques.  Whatever their mode of operation, the goal of intimidation to achieve their desires is always the driving force behind their words and actions.

How do you handle the bullies in your life?  I have come to find that as difficult as it may be at times, the best approach is to call them out.  When I identify their bullying behaviors, I can then confront them.  There is nothing easy about dealing with bullies.  However, if bullies are left alone and allowed to continue their behaviors, they will leave a wake of disaster in their path.  Lives can be damaged or destroyed in the process.

We hear a lot about bullying going on in schools.  I would argue that this type of behavior extends far into adulthood.  You can find bullies in work places, organizations, churches, and community settings.  It is time that we all work to confront and put an end to these behaviors.  It is time that we deal with the bullies, just as the squirrel dealt with the blue jay I saw this morning.

So who is your blue jay?  What are you doing about it?

Break the Mold   Leave a comment

One of the most difficult things for an organization to do if it has been in existence for a relatively long time is to break out of its patterns of behavior.  I encounter this on a fairly regular basis and I think it is due in large part to the fact that most people find it difficult to change their patterns of behavior unless they are forced to do so.  So it is only logical that if individuals struggle with this, organizations which consists of individuals would struggle to break the mold of their behaviors.

I have been working with a group which has a role in an upcoming event.  The group contains some very committed and knowledgeable individuals.  They have worked hard to prepare their portion of the event.  One of their charges is to introduce new ways of doing something that is at the core of the member’s reason for existing.  As I have worked with this group, I find that they consistently fall into the same modes of behavior and approaches each and every time the organization meets.  So I have pushed the envelope of their work for the next upcoming event.  The group has shown little resistance, which is not always the case in similar situations, and seems to have embraced some new approaches.  I am causing them to break the mold.

I am not advocating that a person should be running around and breaking molds every opportunity which exists.  Instead, I am advocating that people should be encouraged to break the mold when there is possibility for growth to occur; especially if you have a charge to introduce different ways and approaches to benefit individuals and organizations.  If an organization continues to do the same activity in the same way ad nauseam, then new discoveries will not occur.  Opportunities for growth can easily slip away.  Energy and enthusiasm may wane.

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So go ahead….. break the mold.  Who knows?  You may create a masterpiece in the process.