Archive for December, 2011



My Loud, Scantily Clad Brazilian Christmas

I come from a place where on Christmas Eve people are battling extreme heat, Santa Claus wears thin silk pajamas, and Christmas day arrives with fireworks on the beach. Sounds like 4th of July in Florida, doesn’t it? Well, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s pretty much like that but with Thanksgiving meal thrown in for good measure. Today I’m in Nashville where we’re expecting a white Christmas and the days are short and cold. But growing up in the Southern Hemisphere in tropical Brazil, I enjoyed Christmas mostly outdoors. Pool parties and trips to the beach marked the beginning of Summer on December 21.  Brazilians eat a later dinner, 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve called “ceia”–interestingly, Christmas Eve is one of the only days Brazilians exchange their beloved beef for turkey and  Ham. After the big meal, Brazilians still find stamina to go out from house to house…

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Communicating with a New Generation

If you’re going to lead anything you need to learn to communicate across generations. Most of us have no problem communication with those are older than we are, but we often stumble when dealing with the younger generations. I have studied, worked with and watch e generation that prefers learning in a non-sequential, mosaic way–no doubt influenced by the a culture saturated with endless sound and video bytes. I have experienced that first hand in the lives of my own children whose world is one large media bucket where they both learn and interact with information in a much more informal and yet dynamic way than I did at their age. We no longer search for information, but information seeks and finds us whenever we are. Between my Twitter and Facebook feeds I’m constantly aware of news, trivia, the important and the ridiculous searching for me every second of the…

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Authenticity and Your Brand Promise

“We are good at copying but not good at being authentic.” Those were difficult words for a pastor to say, but both he and I knew they were true. As we talked, he told me he had visited enough congregations to know how churches freely “borrowed” others’ identity.  I ran into that problem early on in my marketing career as I was asked to create something that looked exactly like someone else’s work . Even today, my company gets calls from churches that want to use one of our client’s  logo, brand identity and promises as their own. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. I believe that’s a problem way beyond churches and businesses.  We often want to copy the style of something or someone without possession any of the substance.  I know church leaders go to great lengths to look and act like  prominent Christian leaders without spending the…

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Are You Asking the Important Questions?

Back in 1988 Eastman Kodak had a surplus of 1.4 billion dollars the equivalent of nearly 2.5 billion in today’s dollars and 11 profitable business units. This year Kodak is set to lose between 400 and 600 million dollars, its 12 losing quarter in the past 15 quarters according to an article on USA Today. The digital revolution has hit the once-global giant hard. Its stock peak at nearly $100 a share and now is considered junk, worth less than a dollar per share. Interestingly, Kodak researches invented the digital camera. According to the article, the film business was just too lucrative to do shift gears into the digital opportunity with its much smaller margins. It didn’t happen overnight but the day Eastman Kodak decided to ignore the trend it help to start for the sake of their most profitable product, it was the day the company began to die.…

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My Near Death Experience with Spanx for Men

It almost pulled my bad shoulder out of socket and it pinned my right arm next to my right ear as I desperately tried pulling down the powerful compression Spanx undershirt that was cutting the blood circulation to my head. I panicked because I was alone at home and the only thought that came to my mind was a horrifying one, “I can’t die with spandex wrapped around my neck. How would Gwen ever explain that?” As the room began to grow darker because of the lack of blood flowing to my brain, I made one more desperate tug downward and got the t-shirt half-way down my chest. I sat down on my bed and rested a few seconds before the second half of my compression undergarment battle. Spanx for men is a big hit these days. For centuries women have donned girdles, corsets and many other variations of undergarments,…

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You Cannot Tweak Your Way into Effectiveness

I have been guilty of trying to tweak something that needed a major overhaul. After a lot of effort and resources making minor adjustments here and there, I usually end up with slightly more effective and yet still unsatisfactory results. Yes there might be some change, even some forward progress, but not enough to make a difference. I don’t know your circumstances, but I’m almost certain that there’s an area of your life, your business, or ministry that is in desperate need of a complete overhaul right now and all you are doing are minor tweaks. I understand the fear of the disruption a bold course of action might cause. I get the fact that the consequences of a difficult move might be more than you have bargain for. They usually are. I also know that when we fail to do the difficult thing, we fail, period. If I have…

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I Did Not Get Here on My Own: My Turn to Make Deposits

“How did I get here?” I thought to myself yesterday as I was hanging Christmas lights in front of my home. It was not as much an existential question but one of introspection and thinking through my life journey. It didn’t take long to answer it, however. First I thought of how faithful God has been to me over the years. Since the day I decided to leave my parents in Brazil and go to Bible College in America, God has been the only constant, never disappointing force in my life. But then I thought of the people whose lives I have intersected over the years and whom have been such a blessing, encouragement and friends to me. I know I could not have the life I have today without their deposits in me. Early on during my college days, I had families “adopt” and take me in their homes…

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A Guy’s Guide: What to Wear to the Holiday Party

It’s Christmas-party time and guys are always wondering what to wear to our favorite holiday celebrations. Here’s a quick guide on looking your best this Christmas. Sweaters are back. But think twice before getting your old Christmas Sweater out. Well, do everyone a favor and go ahead and donate it to GoodWill. How do you dress for your Christmas/holiday parties?

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