Tuesday at 2:00pm with Russ

The organization I work with, Extreme Response, is doing a Strategic Plan. It's been a great process of asking questions, listening to others, and simply evaluating where we are, where we're going and how we're going to get there. It hasn't been an easy process, and we're not finished yet, but it's been a lot of "good work". (I'll keep you posted on where and how we land!)

There's a book that has been on my shelf for a while that is a simple "Strategic Plan", and I thought today I'd simply share 5 questions and encourage you to use these questions to evaluate the organization you're leading or working with, and hopefully create some constructive conversation around these idea.

Peter Drucker, known as the "father of modern management" wrote a book years ago that has been re-released and updated, called "The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization". (order it HERE)

He simply asks some questions that I'm going to pass on to you and encourage you to think about today:

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Tuesday at 2:00pm with Russ

One of my favorite books of all time is Patrick Lencionis book, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" (©2002 Jossey-Bass) . If you haven't read it yet, stop what you're doing an order it HERE. If you work with other people, this book will help you build a team that really works.

One of the 5 dysfunctions is simply "A FEAR OF CONFLICT".

Lencioni shares: "The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict."

He goes on to explain that when we don't practice healthy conflict on a team we're a part of, we don't get the desired results we're all working towards. Conflict, the right way, is a process of encouraging team members to share their opinions passionately, with the common goal of coming to the BEST decision possible for the organization.

Conflict can be very unhealthy, but it can also be liberating! When a team has a high level of trust, this kind of conversation helps us identify the key issues we need to deal with.

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Tuesday at 2:00pm with Russ

Last week we talked about a "service" mentality and going above and beyond what is expected. CLICK HERE to read the post. Thanks for your comments.

I'll share one note from Tim: He's referring to the Ladies and Gentlemen Sign I shared..."The darkness in the world provides windows for us to provide light. In response to your challenge, for me it starts with being intentional about showing kindness (and love, joy, peace, and patience) to everyone we meet"

Thanks for your thoughts Tim about how KINDNESS is a way for us to serve, love and bring encouragement to a polarized world.

Today I want to continue a little on this theme of "going above and beyond expectations".

2 things triggered this thought today:

First, in a conversation with my daughter Rheanna, she was sharing with us about a client that had an urgent need and had an opportunity, so she was responding by helping them meet a deadline. She shared that because of this, she was having to work on the weekend. Both my wife and I challenged her with her parameters, we pushed her to say no, and we tried to protect her margins and life. Her response kind of shocked me... she simply said that the client really needed this help, and she was going to do what it took to help them. As I thought about it, that's a great response. Thinking about last weeks conversation, that's "going above and beyond" to serve someone else. It's not about money, it's not about getting overtime and credit, and sometimes it's not even about having a morning off. In this case, there was a need, an opportunity, and my daughter could help meet that need. I think in the moment, I was reacting like a father and wanting to protect her. Instead, I need to continue to challenge her in her healthy parameters, but while doing that I can also celebrate her skills, her desire to serve a client, and her intuition about what to do and what not to do.

It's also easy to forget all the times I've given up my personal time to help someone over the years. Sometimes I've whined about it, but I still showed up.

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Tuesday at 2:00pm with Russ

This weekend Gina and I spent some days away celebrating our 32nd Wedding Anniversary. We cashed in some hotel points and enjoyed a fabulous weekend in a beautiful location. The hotel, the food, the pool, views and the company were all wonderful.

Another things that was great was the service. The staff went above and beyond to make our stay perfect. This doesn't mean that everything went smoothly, in fact we had a couple of bumps along the way, but the issues were resolved quickly, and we were able to fully enjoy our time.

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Tuesday at 2:00pm with Russ

I hope each of you were able to CELEBRATE in some way over the past week. Life is so full that we sometimes miss important moments. Live and celebrate!

To read the full post CLICK HERE

Another aspect of CELEBRATION is to think about the people that are around you.

There's a great story from Jesus found in Mark chapter 2. It's the story of a group of friends that were committed to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus to be healed. They couldn't get to Jesus because of the crowds, so they went to the roof, cut a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend down to Jesus, and he was healed.

It's an amazing story of Jesus' power, of his compassion and a great image of friendship. These friends were ready to do whatever it would take to bring wholeness to their friend, and together, they succeeded. Read the whole story in Mark 2:1 - 12.

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Tuesday at 2:00pm with Russ

Last week I shared some thoughts about "sharpening one another". I received some great comments.

Here is one that stood out from Chuck:

"I grew up with a father born in 1900. All the years I lived with him and around him he used a straight razor and sharpened it on a razor strap which had two straps. One was leather and the other was like a rough piece of cloth, kind of like a fire hose. He also had various stones on which to sharpen other tools and implements, sometimes using oil or water in the process. We had a small farm and he would always sharpen his knives before he would butcher a pig or calf. When he had something special to do, he sharpened the appropriate blades"

The lesson here is to be constantly "sharpening the saw". Stephen Covey talks about this with his 7th Habit as he challenges us to develop habits that continuously renew us and make us better.

We talked about the value of "sharpening each other" through relationship.

We're you able to "sharpen" yourself or a relationship this week?

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Tuesday at 2:00pm with Russ

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

This morning I spent some time with a friend over a good cup of coffee. No agenda, just catching up, encouraging each other, and challenging each other.

The appointment was random in that we decided last night to grab a quick cup of coffee, but the results of that conversation were transformational.

The passage from Proverbs jumps out to me: "As iron sharpens iron..." or in The Message it says: "You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another."

When you rub two iron blades together, they each become sharper, more useful.

This is the word picture presented here talking about the value of not simply "hanging out" with your friends or with others, but actually actively engaging together.

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Tuesday at 2:00pm with Russ

Are You Willing To Do What It Takes?

In a recent conversation with my youngest daughter, this question came up: "Are you willing to do what it takes to pursue your dream?" We were talking about grad school, work, transition, and all kinds of things, and when she replied that she was willing to do what it takes to chase her goals, I knew that she would succeed in reaching them.

That's a loaded question: Are you willing to do what it takes?

- This causes us to evaluate our goals and our dreams.

- This causes us to evaluate our ability to stick with something long enough to achieve it.

- This causes us to build our own confidence so we can actually do it.

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