Archive for March, 2011

@maurilio:

25

You Cannot Be an Original If You Don’t Find Your Voice First

Until we figure out who we are, we are always going to be an imitation of those whom we admire. While emulating our heroes and mentors is not necessarily a bad thing, it always falls short of the original. We must first find our voice in order for us to break away from merely being good at something to being great. I remember finding my voice as a writer. It was my second semester of graduate school and the long paper I turned in to my adviser was not the strung-together researched quotes with personal commentary woven in. For the first time in my English-writing career I had something to say in my own voice and the research quotes became a distance secondary focus. I noticed a difference in my writing and so did my teacher who wrote, “congratulations you’ve found your voice!” in bold red ink on the cover…

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11

Are You Part of a Learning Organization?

I have the privilege to work with some very dynamic organizations and one of the indicators of whether or not they continue to grow is their ability to learn–both from their mistakes as well as from others. My first consultation with a new client serves two distinct purposes: Is this a good fit? Is this a learning organization? I have been in situations where I knew that my company could add a lot of value to a client, but, unfortunately, they were not teachable and therefore, not a viable business relationship. Here’s what I look for in making my assessment of an organization’s teach-ability quotient. Secure leadership. The leader sets the tone for the rest of the organization. If the person at the top is not a learner and willing to be taught, then he or she will create a culture of insecurity and excuses. In my experience that shows…

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17

Getting Your Dream Job. Advice to Young Professionals

“If you deliver on what you’re asked to do, even if you’re not passionate about it, you will earn the right to do thing you love.” That was part of my answer to the young man who asked me, “What advice would you give someone wanting to go into the church communication field?” As I reflect on that answer, I believe it applies to anyone starting out a new career. I remember talking with someone who confessed not being very good at his job because it wasn’t challenging and not at the level he wanted it to be. He did the minimum required because he felt under-utilized, doing work well below his skill and intelligence capacity. His boss had a different take, “he’s lazy,” said the man to me. “I had a lot of faith in him and wanted to give the kid more important work, but at the end…

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18

Developing Your Own Fashion Sense

You can’t have a sense of personal style without knowing who you are as a person. The fashion Friday posts often focus on a male fashion trend, that for the most part, is very subjective. The fashion gods, and I mean, gods with a very small “g,” decide what’s in and what’s not. But no matter of what the latest fashion might be, you cannot have a sense of style without having a sense of self. The more you’re set on your convictions and the more developed your world view is, the more you can create the visual part of your persona. They are both tied together. That’s the difference between people who are trendsetters and those who are fashion victims. Those who lack a deep sense of personal conviction and strong sense of self can easily fall prey to the latest fad, no matter how bad or inappropriate it…

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11

The Power of Self Awareness

There’s nothing worse than a lack of self awareness, special for a leader. If you’re a fan of the the sitcom, The Office, think of branch manager, Michael Scott and his apparently clueless existence. It’s more often sad and uncomfortable than it is funny. But not matter you role at work, school and in a relationship, your ability to identify your strengths and weakness is key in determining whether you are going to navigate life successfully or not. Regardless of what your mother told you growing up, you’re not wonderful at every task in life. I know that’s a significant blow to your self esteem, but get over it, and fast. I had to. Sobriety in life goes beyond not being drunk. It implies that you can look at yourself honestly and assess your skills and talents as well as the areas you are ignorant, deficient, and just plan inept.…

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9

Rules for Successful Team Work

My best projects have been a team effort. The coming together of two entities, units, or even individuals bring different sensitivities and perspectives that can make a good project, a great one. As I reflect on my successful as well as failed collaborations, I have come up with a few rules that must be in place before the proverbial “best of both worlds” can come to fruition. The difference between the this-was-great, and the it-was-a-total-disaster outcome is directly dependent on team dynamics and how closely I followed the following rules. Strategic leader. No matter the scope of any collaborative project, it needs to have someone as the keeper of the vision. Who is the champion for the project? Who is going to keep the entire team focused on what’s important and needed? Without strong leadership, projects with multiple stakeholders can move away from its original intent and the entire outcome…

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14

Strategy for Making Important Decisions

Making decisions about your business or career can be a scary proposition to many of us. Some can make quick and effect decisions while others agonize over all the options and can’t commit to a course of action. Ultimately, they are afraid that there are better options just around the corner if they only do more research or wait another day. In my experience Leonard Ravenhill was right when he stated “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.” When we take too long to make critical decisions for our business or ministry, there’s always a price to pay. Too often the window of opportunity is no longer there: the price goes up, the competition beats us to the punch, the organization loses business because it’s under resourced. I must confess, I am much better at the big-picture decisions today than I used to…

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6

How to Tie a Skinny Tie

With the return of the skinny tie to men’s fashion, I’m asked often what’s the best knot for it. Lately I have helped friends, family and even a men’s apparel store salesman with their tie tying issues (he had trouble with a bow tie, however). Personally I like to use the four-in-hand¬† or the Half Windsor knot for the skinny tie. The Full Windsor is too bulky and looks dumb on a thin tie. Also, I would not recommend the Full Windsor unless you are wearing a spread collar shirt that allows for the larger, bulkier knot. Here’s a couple of videos on how to tie two of the most popular knots. What’s your favorite knot? How do you feel about the skinny tie come back?

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14

When Churches Hurt

“I’m in a different stage of my life right now,” said the young man across the counter as I asked him if he went to church. “I don’t like what organized religion has become,” he continued. I hear a variation of that reasoning quite often. But as I probed and asked about his church background, I was not expecting his answer. As he told me his story, he mentioned growing up in a church I know well in another city. Years ago, it was one of the most dynamic evangelical churches in that metropolitan area. It grew to mega church status and one day the fighting began. First it was over church governance, and then over musical styles, and then over whatever else people could find polarizing.¬† it grew ugly until the inevitable split. It was a mess. No one won. No one. Some have claimed victory, however. But the…

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8

In a Church Production, We Should Always Answer the “Why”

I attended a church production featuring great acting and singing talent supported by a strong team. It always make me happy when churches find, cultivate and deploy talented people for artistic productions. Where else would art and creativity come from but from the heart and mind of God? What troubled me about my experience wasn’t the quality of the experience, but the lack of strategic intent. At the end of the thing, I was left not knowing how to respond. Besides showing my appreciation for the talent and hard work through my applause, I walked away not being able to answer the “why” question. That was a miss opportunity of a weekend service to create impact. Next time your creative team decides on a video, play, reading or any artistic element within your service, you should ask these questions. What do we want to accomplish? What’s our ultimate goal? How…

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