• The sermon this morning: “Jesus walks on water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”
• Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 pm in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
• Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
• For those of you who have children, and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
• A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
• Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
• The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
• Weight Watchers will meet at 7 pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
• The associate minister unveiled the church’s new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: “I upped my pledge—up yours.”
Here are my other favorite church marquee messages:
“The best vitamin for a Christian is B1″
“Under same management for over 2000 years”
“Soul food served here”
“Beat the Christmas rush, come to church this Sunday!”
“Don’t wait for the hearse to take you to church”
“Don’t give up. Moses was once a basket case.”
“What part of “THOU SHALT NOT” don’t you understand?”
“A clear conscience makes a soft pillow”
“The wages of sin is death. Repent before payday”
“Never give the devil a ride. He will always want to drive”
“Can’t sleep? Try counting your blessings”
“Forbidden fruit creates many jams”
“To belittle is to be little”
“God answers kneemail”
Cheryl offers: Did you know the U. S. Marines were training and getting ready to deploy 4-5 person Female Engagement Teams in Iraq? Over 40 women have volunteered to join a new program designed to interact with the women in Iraq; something male Marines are not allowed to do in that culture. The idea came from Afghanistan where Marines have experienced success with this approach. What our military has found to be true is what’s true everywhere: women wield a great deal of influence; know all the latest news, and are willing to take risks for the sake of their families. To quote a gray bearded man in Afghanistan who opened his home to a Female Engagement Team, “We know your men are here to fight, but we know the women are here to help.” The women are currently undergoing special cultural, behavioral, communications, and combat training, given the presumed dangerous assignments. In the book, The Female Advantage by Sally Helgesen, she writes, “Thus implicit in the use of voice as an instrument of leadership is the notion that care and empowerment are leadership tasks.” While these female Marines will carry the smaller M4’s rather than standard M-16’s, their real weapon for change will be their female voices; voices that will communicate care as they ask their primary question, “What is the biggest problem facing your village?” They may ultimately empower Iraqi women as no other armed force can. On International Women’s Day, I can’t think of no group of women more deserving of our prayers, best wishes, and hopes for success. Semper fi!
Paul Spiegelman and Bo Burlingham have created a truly unique organization, the not-for-profit “SmallGiants SM Community in the U.S. In fact there are several others in Brazil, Germany, Romania, Japan, Vietnam, South Africa, and the UK, with others being established.Bo Burlingham joined Inc. magazine in January 1983 as a senior editor and became executive editor six months later, a position he held for the next seven years or so. In 1990 he resigned and became editor-at-large. He subsequently wrote two books with Jack Stack, The Great Game of Business and A Stake in the Outcome. More recently, he wrote Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big and The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up, co-authored with Norm Brodsky. He was also a founder, with Tom Peters, of PAC World, “a weird international networking group that gave him a chance to meet a lot of zany—and brilliant—people from around the globe.”
Paul Spiegelman is the CEO and founder of Beryl, the nation’s leading health care-exclusive call center. He is also the author of Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity and Profit. In it, he explores how businesses can create a corporate culture that fosters creativity, builds employee and customer loyalty and benefits the bottom line.
I urge you to visit http://www.smallgiants.org/home.php to check out the wealth of resources as well as to sign up for e-mail updates and become an active member of this very special community, one made up of companies and individuals who are focused on running businesses that succeed by adhering to these principles of “business mojo”:
• A clear understanding of company identity and goals
• Passionate belief and action from leadership about the company’s purpose
• Solid and sustainable financial model
• Dedication to building an intimate relationship with the community
• Agreement of principles and practices with supply chain participants
• Willingness to focus on the employee and the workplace as the primary method for meeting customer needs
Last week, Karl Krayer and I spoke at a book synopsis gathering at the La Cima Club. The moderator asked us at each table to reflect on the best “self-help” books we have ever read. Karl chose Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Just to remind you, here are Covey’s seven habits (from the Wikipedia article):
▪ Habit 1: Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Choice
▪ Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Vision
▪ Habit 3: Put First Things First: Principles of Integrity & Execution
Independence to Interdependence
▪ Habit 4: Think Win/Win: Principles of Mutual Benefit
▪ Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Principles of Mutual Understanding
▪ Habit 6: Synergize: Principles of Creative Cooperation
▪ Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal of body
On Friday, I presented the synopsis of Switch, the new book by the Heath brothers, and read and spoke about the power of “automatic habits.” Change is hard because what we do “habitually” is done “automatically,” without extra effort… So the goal is to develop the right life and work practices, and make sure they are in automatic mode in your own life. In other words, turn the things you need to do every day into habits that you do “automatically.”
And then I read the article about Twyla Tharp, and her new book The Collaborative Habit. I of course thought back to her terrific book The Creative Habit. (I blogged about this here over the weekend).
All of this has led me to reflect pretty deeply about the power of habits.
It seems that people with the best good habits get more accomplished, live saner lives, and basically live lives that we all wish we could live.
People with bad habits have less productive lives, and we seldom envy them.
The question is: what are your habits? Are they good or bad? Which habits do you need to jettison, and which do you need to develop?
Which habits do you practice that make you a highly effective person?
These are perilous times for business in a number of ways. Here’s a new way.
I usually stay well away from political topics and observations in this blog. The country is simply too divided. If a person takes a political stance, does something that resembles a political act or even engages in something that could be construed as political communication, then that person is practically guaranteed to make about one half of the people very happy, and truly alienate the other half. So, it is especially perilous to bring politics into the business context in this era. It is, to put it simply, a bad business decision.
There is a growing need for common decency, and a little smarts. And I think there is a man in Tennessee who has learned this the hard way.
Here’s the story. Walt Baker is the CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, and owns his own marketing firm. He forwarded an e-mail with an indescribably offensive image, making a highly offensive comparison that is charged with racial overtones. (You can read about it here).
The decision to forward the e-mail has resulted in the loss of a $50,000 contract with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, some serious apologizing by the local city council and tourist industry, and a bad first apology, and, in my opinion, a bad second apology from Mr. Baker. He first said that he thought the e-mail was simply funny, and he intended no offense. That was stupid!
And then, he said that he has learned not to simply forward e-mails anymore.
This is what he should have learned. Not to receive such e-mails. He should have responded to those who sent him such offensive material with a demand to stop sending it to him, and to let them know that such behavior was not acceptable in a civil society. If he had done that, there would have been no danger of simply forwarding the offensive e-mail to begin with.
Now, some can argue that my comments are against the notion of free speech. So I say, write and say and send whatever you want. But if you intend to conduct business in a civil society, it’s wise to practice civility.
On Friday, March 5, at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, I jokingly referred to my book, 59 Seconds, as a bathroom reader. The exact citation is:
Wiseman, R. (2009). 59 seconds: Think a little, change a lot. New York: Knopf.
I suppose that you could use it for that. The reality is that the book is filled with results from many different types of studies that revolve around self-help topics. In the book, Richard Wiseman surveyed the field of academic psychology and mined its research for practical ways to actually achieve goals, win friends, and find happiness. In his own words:
“I wondered whether there were tips and techniques hidden away in academic journals that were empirically supported but quick to carry out. Over the course of a few months, I carefully searched through endless journals…a promising pattern emerged, with researchers in quite different fields developing techniques that help people achieve their aims and ambitions in minutes, not months” (p. 8).
I would assume that for most of you, academic studies are not your favorite type of reading. They are not mine, and I wrote and read them for years.
However, let’s stop for a moment and examine why we do science. This book reminds you that science is all about verifying, debunking, or altering what we assume to be true, such as common-sense or myths. Instead of believing that there is some type of relationship between two items, or outcome that always results given some sort of stimuli, science tests these assumptions and tells you whether it is true.
This book has no shortage of these results. The good news is that Wiseman has provided us these findings without requiring us to go read the original studies. Of course, we must trust him – that he reported these results accurately. I think it is worth the risk. And the fact that we can read a summary of the findings really is good news – no matter where you end up reading this book.
You will be able to purchase my synopsis of this book at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com. You receive the audio recording, a presentation outline, and a sheet of key quotes.
Although in dispute whether or not (as some insist) the Chinese character for the word “crisis” has two meanings, peril and opportunity, the juxtaposition of the two helps to explain Geoff Colvin’s response to a question many business leaders now ask: “How can my company survive and then prevail during the current recession, and eventually thrive in its aftermath?” What he recommends are ten management principles (none of which is a head-snapping revelation, nor does he make any such claim for them) that can guide and inform efforts to achieve the objectives indicated in the question. It is important to keep in kind that Colvin is a hardcore, world-class pragmatist who has an insatiable curiosity to understand what works, what doesn’t, and why…and then share what he has learned with others, with the hope that the information and advice provided will prove helpful to them. I should add that all of his material is anchored in real-world situations. Also, that he is especially talented writer.
Colvin devotes a separate chapter to each of the ten management principles. Wherever appropriate, he also offers an explanation of especially important issues or developments. For example:
o Why “this historic downturn really does offer new, similarly scaled possibilities. The reasons are specific and hardheaded” (Pages 4-9)
o “Why we don’t have to wait for the recession to end to see the new world that it’s creating – to glimpse the next episode in the story” (Pages 19-24)
o How to examine the most significant changes – in six key categories that shape performance — in a company’s competitive world (Pages 27-34)
o Given the “enormously destructive power of this recession,” which lessons does it suggest that will help business leaders to understand what that its risks are and how to manage them effectively (Pages 137-144)
Colvin observes, “A tendency to avoid reality, to minimize bad news, may lie deep in a corporate culture. But while most cultural change must start at the top, this change can start anywhere. This recession is an unprecedented opportunity to begin such a change.” In most workplaces, there is a wider and deeper sense of job insecurity now than at any previous time that I can recall since the 1930s.
Credit Geoff Colvin with sharing everything he knows that can help many (if not most) companies to survive and then prevail during the current recession, and eventually thrive in its aftermath. I suggest that business leaders who read this book think of it as a hybrid: a wake-up call/reality check and an operations manual. Heaven knows, the challenges business leaders now face are formidable. That said, they would be well-advised to keep in mind what Henry Ford said long ago: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” The choice is theirs.