Archive for April, 2011

@maurilio:

16

White Belt: A Guys’ Guide for Wearing it Well

The white belt has been a men’s fashion accessory for a long time. In the past, it has been paired exclusively with summer white linen pants or shorts and white shoes. However, in the recent years, it has become a trend in men’s fashion beyond polo matches or resort wear. Unfortunately some guys are violating the white belt rules. Here’s some rules to keep in mind: 1.     No white belt with black shoes 2.     No white belt with pleats (no pleats…period) 3.     No white belt with black plants 4.     No white belt if your belly covers the buckle How do you feel about the white belt?

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6

Refueling My Creativity with Cirque du Soleil

Nothing fuels my creative juices more than experiencing creativity on steroids. I get inspired, challenged, stretched and motivated to push my creative boundaries outwardly. But one would think that after watching the same production four times over a decade would get old. In most cases I would agree, but not when it comes to a Cirque du Soleil production, and specifically, La Nouba. While this might come across as cliche, La Nouba cannot be described in words or even pictures. It must be experienced. Really. The best way I can convey some meaningful and yet deficient description is by calling it a theatrical, acrobatic, musical and multi-media show that will have your head spinning and your mouth dropping and your heart racing for a solid one and a half hours. Interestingly, the producers created the show and then built the theater to fit it. The entire experience is perhaps the…

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12

Church Branding or Marketing? What’s the Difference?

If “marketing” was the church’s buzzword for the ‘90s, “branding” is definitely the new, upstart concept when it comes to communications these days. So what makes the new millennium’s branding better than last century’s marketing strategy? A lot, if we understand the differences between them. Branding and marketing both aim at communicating a product, an institution, even a person to a particular audience. This whole process happens solely in the mind. In this case, perception is reality—for good or bad. Most of what marketing does is build a brand—create a favorable reality in the minds of our target audience. A marketing campaign’s effectiveness is measured in months, but a brand’s strength is calculated in years, even decades. Each marketing effort should help define, position, and strengthen the brand. Recently, the Old Spice campaign featuring Isaiah Mustafa has sold a lot of deodorant to men who want to be more Isaiah…

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10

A Miraculous Easter Sunday

I think it was Bill Hybels who said that “The Church is still the hope of the world”–not in a means unto itself, but as the messenger and conduit in which God uses it to reach out to those outside the faith and bring them into communion with Himself and with His people. Late Saturday my friend and client, Sal Sberna sent me a picture of his Easter service rehearsal. He gave me a challenge: why not text some of your clients and ask them to send you phone pics of their Easter services and share them with your team on Monday? As the pictures and reports of what God had done in many of these services came through my phone on Sunday, I felt compelled to share them not only with my team but with you as well. These pictures reflect literally hundreds of thousands of people who attended…

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13

Runner Encouragement

Yesterday I ran alone. Saturdays are my long runs and I’m thankful for a group of friends that keep me accountable and entertained, but no one was running, so I went solo.  I started late and wasn’t particularly happy about being alone until I ran into a large running group from Fleet Feet. The route of the large marathon training group was opposite to mine so I went by what seem to be hundreds of runners for the first 4 miles of my run. The runners up front were focused on their fast pace with perfect form and determination on their faces. Knowing runners’ etiquette, I smiled and waved as I passed by. Once I turned the corner, I realized that this was a very large group, and that I would be smiling and waving a whole lot. But then it hit me: “I’ll smile and encourage these guys on.…

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31

You Cannot Hate People into Heaven

“God hates gays” said on the front of the hateful bright yellow t-shirt. The girl wearing it didn’t look much older than my son. She could have been a high school student or someone in her early twenties. Two days ago as I walked by the corner where protesters of the Lady Gaga show stood on the streets of Nashville, I couldn’t help but notice the scene. For some reason this young woman was further away from the rest of the angry pack. I felt compelled to talk to her, but our exchange broke my heart. I didn’t want to shout or call attention to us and attract the rest of her angry clan, so I quietly walked up to hear and said, “My dear, God hates sin, but He Loves people. He cannot hate gay people. He died for them.” She jumped to attention as if not expecting my…

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12

It’s Time to Rethink the Welcome Center Experience

Welcome centers are at heart of the experience in most service-oriented businesses and churches. The idea is a good one: create a focal point that allows newcomers to find the information they need in order to have the best experience possible. But I think we have missed the point on implementation, specially churches. Somehow we have bought into the idea that a counter-service type of approach is the optimum way to welcome someone. It isn’t. The problem with most welcome centers is the foundational assumption it creates by the virtue of its design: a counter fortress where staff or volunteers stand  behind waiting for those seeking help to engage them. Some are quite elaborate constructions in the middle to atriums and concourses with computers and flat screens.  To me that’s not a welcome station; it’s a help desk. It puts the entire ownership of the process on the new person.…

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23

What To Do With a Bad Day

I thought I was getting out on an early flight home. Time was tight but this was a small airport and my gate was literally less than 10 feet from security. I heard my name called over the intercom as I was collecting my bags. The TSA agent wanted to do extra screening of one of my bags, of course, so I stepped aside, made eye contact with the gate agent and yelled out “I’m here. I’ll be there as soon as they let me go.” Within a couple of minutes I was ready to board. I didn’t expect what I heard, “Sorry, the flight is closed. You’re going to have to take the next one.”  “You have got to be kidding me!” I was just incredulous.  “Didn’t you see and hear me?” I asked the agent who didn’t bother looking up from the computer. “I waited over 4 minutes.”…

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8

Is Your Church Hard to Get In?

The natural tendency of things is to go from simple to complex. It happens in businesses and it certainly happens in churches. Size, resources, both financial as well a people, dictate a lot of what a church can do in its infancy. But growing organizations, by nature of growth, become increasingly sophisticated and, thus more complex. Unwittingly, churches develop their own language and culture and a set of assumptions about their organization. One of the most dangerous of these assumptions is that the church’s internal culture is a mirror of its community, and, therefore, easy for newcomers to understand. I can think of so many examples, but one that comes to mind is the way churches have creative names for every age-group ministry: Fuse, Stretch, MainStreet, The Loft, to name a few. Familiarity causes staff to drop the most important of denominators, the age descriptor. What started out as Fuse…

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31

Austrian Traditional Jacket Migrates to Tennessee

While in Vienna last week, I couldn’t help notice the traditional Austrian Loden jacket, sometimes called a tracht coat. It’s popular in Bavaria and Austria and has been around for centuries. The coat is often made of wool, where the fibers are boiled than pressed and become water repellent called Loden wool. These days it is blended with alpaca, mohair, camel or cashmere. Loden is traditionally of dark green color with a laid down and pressed pile finish. I really liked the six buttons on the front and the streamlined collar, or, as some refer to it, “collarless.” I went ahead and bought one for the Fall. I chose the traditional navy Loden wool and cashmere with brass buttons–a thing of beauty if I say so myself.  I hate to have to wait several months before I get to wear mine, but since these jackets have been around for hundreds…

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