Archive for July, 2011

@maurilio:

14

What to Wear: New Job Edition

A new job comes with new opportunities, challenges and, most likely, a new dress code. A friend asked me this week “I need new clothes for my new job, but I have no idea what to wear.” There are a lot of pressures about starting a new position and your wardrobe should not be one of them. Guys, here are a few guidelines to help you look your best in your new job. (I’m linking each main point to some of my previous Fashion Friday post of relevance for more in depth information).   Ask. Don’t interpret. Business, business casual, casual, Friday casual, west coast casual, east coast casual are all subjective to interpretation down to the part of town you’ll be working. I have seen branches of the same company in the same city have different dress codes because of the area of town they were located. So don’t…

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23

HAES [Health At Every Size] and the Slippery Slope

I just found out about HAES, Health At Every Size, from a Google+ shared blog by Chris Brogan. The post By Amy Pershing titled “Is The Idea Of Health At Every Size Just Permission To Be Fat?” The implied answer in the title is “no” but I’m having a tough time with overall concept. In her own words Ms. Pershing says, According to the BMI chart and the cultural message, I still have about 35 lbs to go. My body, however, seems perfectly healthy and happy right here. I figure she knows better. So “HAES” is NOT about “permission to get fat.” It is about each of us individually listening with body and mind, letting our unique bodies find the way to the weight they are happy to be, and valuing whatever the result. While there is a lot of support for HAES, I think it’s a dangerous slippery slope…

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12

The Next Level: Do You Have the Right Team?

“What do we need to do to get us to the next level?” That’s perhaps the one question I get asked the most.  While the answer might include strategies like  better systems, seizing opportunities, new facilities, retooling business or ministry models, they are all predicated on the most important variable of all: the competence of the team. As I look back in decades of consulting, I can point to the competence of a team as the key element on taking an organization to the next level. Most businesses, churches or not for profits have gotten where they are in the strength of their current team. In my experience, the next level always requires “next-level” thinking and performance. Good leaders realize that and want to move forward. But unless the team has what it takes to run at a difference pace, the organization will not get unstuck. I have sat through…

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7

Confessions of a Hypocrite

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s quite descriptive of my feelings. I’ve felt that way since my early professional days as a pastor. Those who work in ministry might be able to identify with the sentiment. After all, pastors and church staff, just by virtue of their positions, are expected to be holier and wiser than the rest of the congregation. Their struggles are beyond the mundane issues of the rest of the non-professional Christians deal with.  Therein lies my problem. While I’m not  lowering the standards for those in ministry, I know the toll those expectations can take on those whose lives are supposed to be a living example of God’s promises, blessings and teachings. Every single day. All the time. With a smile. Life under the microscope of unrealistic expectations is painful. The days you question your career path, your spouse…

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18

The Rise of the Embroidered Pants

One of the most conservative men’s clothing brands is selling some of the most outrageous slacks in the marketplace. We all expect leather pants from Dolce and Gabbana or skinny jeans from Diesel, but these pants are coming from Brooks Brothers. Who knew?! What’s your take on the embroidered pants? Guys would you wear them? Ladies, would you buy them for your guy?

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11

The Right Stress: Yet Another Reason I’m an Entrepreneur

We all have stress in our work, but there is a big difference between what I call “corporate stress” and “entrepreneurial stress.” I have dealt with both and I have chosen the entrepreneurial stress. Here’s why. I hear often from friends who work in a corporate environment about the challenges they face daily. While the size of businesses vary, they all share some of the same dynamics, particularly the personnel, policy and culture dynamics that are beyond their control. While I know that control is elusive at best, entrepreneurs have a simple creed we all live by: we eat what we kill. While that might sound simplistic, it’s ultimate the bottom line for those of us who work for ourselves. As a business owner, I cannot blame anyone else for making bad business decisions, or for not moving forward fast enough to take advantage of opportunities. These are usually my…

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14

Without Systems Your Vision is Just a Dream

Systems, not vision, determine the sustainability of your dream. This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn, but over the years, I have met many a visionary leader whose dreams grew to a fraction of their potential because of the lack of an environment where the vision could thrive. Vision must come first in any organization, otherwise systems tend to get a life of their own and become what we hate the most about government: bureaucracy, a means into itself, a self-preserving, self-entitled nothingness. However, vision without systems is like a train without tracks. In a growing organization, sustainability means understanding strengths, threats, opportunities, trends and how to design organizational culture and procedures to address them. I’ve heard someone put it this way: what determines your product is what happens down the hall and not what’s hanging on the wall. I’m saddened every time I run into a…

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9

Renewing My Faith in the Millennial Generation

Research tells us that while the millennial generation wants to make a difference in their world, they are not willing to do the hard work it takes to get the job done: “I want to save the world, so I bought this cool bracelet.” This past week I experienced just the opposite. I have renewed my faith in a generation some have given up on. I spent the last seven days in Honduras with a mission team from my church,  Cross Point, in a ranch near San Marcos de Colon owned by Mission Lazarus. In the past decade, this work has been able to start 19 churches, 4 schools, 3 medical clinics, a sustainable life program, 4 vocational schools, an orphanage and employing over 140 Hondurans.  It’s one of the most dynamic young mission organizations I know.  Interestingly, while its founder and board of directors operate in the US, most…

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15

Getting Off The Privileged Bubble

Could my money be more useful than my non-medical skills? I had to reason with myself about the merits of going on a week-long mission trip. Rationally the answer was a resounding “yes,” but, as it turns out, the answer is a big “no.” At first thought, I have no business being on a medical mission trip. Since I haven’t been able to find a marketing or technology mission trip yet (hey, now that’s an idea!), I decided to join the Cross Point Honduras mission team and brought my 16-year old son, Marcus along. I’m glad I did. While my money can be used to buy supplies and hire more help, my presence here is more important than just my resources. Here are some thoughts: Looking into the eyes of the Honduran people, touching them and letting them know they matter is a deep personal experience no funding mechanism can…

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7

Do You Have a Brand or Just a Brand Document?

A brand strategy exercise is a great tool, a map, a guide to make sure your product, message and promise are aligned and working together. A brand strategy helps you define and know your story, your language, your customer. However, it is a means and not an end. The plan must be executed in order for the strategy to have any value whatsoever. But without an internal brand champion, a brand strategy is seldom is implemented. At The A Group we do a lot of Brand exercises. These are usually a full day of distilling brand identity, promise, positioning and creating strategic next steps. Even though I’m usually exhausted by the end of them, I love these sessions because they help to define, guide and focus an entire brand, marketing and sometimes even a business plan. But a plan is just a map. Without implementation it does as much good…

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