Transparent Intelligence

How vulnerability at work increases emotional intelligence

Put hundreds of imperfect humans into tight quarters day-after-day, loaded up with challenging goals and pressure-inject the situation with uncontrollable external factors…and what do you expect you’ll get?  There are lots of answers to that question so let me just tell you what I’m getting at.  Humans are emotional creatures and they don’t leave their feelings at home when they commute to work.  No, emotions show up at work every day.  And grace-based leaders are equipped to handle emotions in ways that honor their people and lift up their organizations.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines emotions as: instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.  Furthermore, this word originated in mid 16th century France and it denoted a public disturbance or commotion.

Do you see where I’m headed?

Architecting Your Life Plan

An approach for establishing meaningful life goals

Through some cosmic hiccup we’ve all received the same training on goal setting. We’ve learned goals need to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound). Instead of setting a goal like, I want to be healthier, it’s much more powerful to commit, I will lose ten pounds in eight weeks.

The problem is, when we attempt to set significant life goals, leaning on the SMART model is like trying to kill a bear with a butter knife.

In today’s post I’ll share 3 thoughts on life planning:

1. A Biblical perspective
2. Practical Steps
3. A Measurement Philosophy

Serving Together as a Family

How gratitude glorifies God and draws our kids’ hearts to Christ

Hang around the church long enough and you’ll pick up on the lifestyle and lingo of a believer.  One thing you’ll hear is that you should serve others…even better if you can serve together with your kids.  Although undeniably important, I have this nagging suspicion that many of us serve for the wrong reasons and in the wrong manner.

In our most transparent moments we confess our motivations for serving include words like we ought to and should.  Service also sometimes feels burdensome and inconvenient. Collectively, these impure motives and feelings permeate our thinking and pollute our acts of service.  Worse yet, they might deter us from serving altogether.

Today I’ll share a Biblical perspective on why and how we should serve.  If you’re seeking a list of ways to serve as a family you won’t find that here.  What you will find is a philosophy of service – and some challenging thoughts.

Servant Leadership as a Catalyst

Making your vision explode into your new reality

In his 1970 essay The Servant as Leader, Robert K. Greenleaf coined the phrase “servant leadership.” Although not a new concept, Greenleaf’s essay popularized the concept and set into motion a decades-long debate.

For me to think I could resolve that debate would land squarely on either arrogance or ignorance.  No, my musings today are more observation than revelation.  Of course I can’t help but also offer encouragement to leaders striving to become more servant-minded.

Living Authentically with Friends

5 steps to building and enjoying authentic Christian community

Oxford defines “authentic” as made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original.  As believers, the “original” we’re seeking to resemble is our intended design – our redeemed self. If it weren’t for the fall of Adam we might resemble God’s original design. But sin causes us to fall short. So we look to Christ as our proxy.

As a result of this fallen state, our relationships with others often disappoint. Struggling to live authentically with those around us we long for something more genuine.  Striving for authenticity leads us to ask 2 questions:

  1. What does “living authentically with friends” even mean?
  2. In what ways do I see myself falling short?

Grace is a word most people have heard, some people use, but few understand. Even fewer people associate Grace with the workplace.

Grace is a uniquely Christian concept that often gets confused with license, permissiveness or passivity.  Some think it’s akin to the “Get Out of Jail Free” Chance card in the popular board game Monopoly.  But that’s not grace.  That’s a cheap substitute.  Grace is a radical and powerful concept that, if fully understood and unleashed by leaders, has the potential to radically transform a workplace.

In this brief slideshow, I unpack the components of grace as articulated by Dr. Tim Kimmel of Family Matters, and adapted by me to help marketplace leaders learn how to glorify God and deliver uncommon results through the creation of a grace-based workplace.

Discovering Purpose

Helping those we lead satisfy their need for significance

As the world debated Tom Brady’s alleged improprieties in the Patriot’s 2015 Deflate Gate scandal, a wonderful story emerged out of Ada, Ohio.  A story about purpose.  A story about Jane Helser – a football seamstress from the Wilson football factory.

For 48 years Jane stitched together the 4 panels of leather that comprise an an official NFL football.  Upon her retirement she reflected, “When I’m at a Super Bowl and I walk in that stadium at kick off time and I see that football sitting out there on that field; I get goose bumps because I sewed that football.”

When we think about finding purpose at work, our minds often gravitate to the grandiose.  Sometimes presuming purpose is found only in the innovative or prominent positions.  But watching Jane Helser, with tears in her eyes, describe her career as a football seamstress inspired me to rethink significance and purpose.

The Strategy of Hope

How to ignite hope in the hearts of those you lead

When I was a competitive athlete (more than a couple of decades ago), I didn’t particularly care for the human interest stories that worked their way into the Winter and Summer Olympics programming. All I wanted to see was the head-to-head competition.  The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  The winners and the losers.  However, decades later I find myself strangely interested in the human interest stories…for the wisdom found within them.

Interestingly, if you look deeply into the near career-ending injuries, debilitating life situations, emotional setbacks, and excruciating disappointment…these against-all-odds stories reveal a great deal about the powerful role hope plays in fueling peak performance.

Early Retirement

How to retire the right tasks...to energize your future

Two of my colleagues recently resigned from corporate life to pursue an entrepreneurial venture.  Not the typical venture…they’re running concessions at an aquarium in Scottsdale, Arizona. Ice cream and sea life in the Sonoran Desert!  Sounds to me like they pulled the cord on an early retirement.  Am I jealous?  Yes!

Feeling no need to protect their identities, I’ll refer to my former colleagues as Mark and Doug, their Aquarium as OdySea and their concession project as Frozen Penguin Ice Cream.  I’ll also refer to them as friends since we’re no longer colleagues.

Yesterday two things happened that again reminded me of my friends and their early retirement.