The New Season Begins!

Unstuck Group PicLike Spring Training that has completed with the new baseball season upon us- my season of work has come out of Spring Training and now is in full gear!

I’m excited to have one foot in the business arena and another in the ministry space continuing to do what I love- being part of great teams to help people, churches, and businesses get clarity on vision, a strategy to get there, and tools to actually execute on the plan. Our life and time here is short and we all have a God-given purpose while we’re here.

Starting today I am joining The Unstuck Group: “We help churches grow their impact through church consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action.” I believe the “Church” has a tremendous potential to make a world-impact with the greatest Message on the planet. Sometimes we just get it wrong, settle for what is safe, forget that it’s not about us, and get comfortable. I’m looking forward to learning, serving, and growing with this highly talented team.

Additionally, I am currently consulting/coaching with some small businesses through Lasting Change Consulting Group. I’ll have more to share in the upcoming weeks and months as we are already digging in with some great entrepreneurs and businesses.

I look forward to many great conversations in the days to come- keep leading strong!

Goodbye to Pinnacle & Advanced Imaging Solutions!

Well as they say, seasons end and seasons begin. Yesterday, January 29th was my last day at Advanced Imaging Solutions and Pinnacle (acquired last year). What a run it has been…this season, Thank Youexperiences, and most importantly the people have been such a blessing in my life. I am a better person because of all of you.

In times like this, the buzz starts happening, what’s the “real” story, and so I’d love to share a few things:

  • This has been an absolute great run. Some of my years since 2007 have been the absolute best of my professional career to date… there were scores of times I had told people, “this is the best job and best team I’ve ever been part of” during this span.
  • The exposure to the technology world has been amazing- learning about Technology Plans for business, working along side some of the smartest techies I know, and seeing the integration of technlology with business needs and objectives with scores of different businesses has been priceless.
  • Learning best practices in the Technology Services and Managed Services business model with trips to meet with the Heartland Technology Peer Groups to sharpen the saw with other great technology companies from across the United States was equivilent to a Master’s Degree.
  • This past year has been such a learning process to be on the other side of an acquisition and having a front seat to the whole process. There have been bumps in the road, new challenges, scores of new relationships- again, I’m just so thankful for the lessons along the way.
  • Then, in the last few months, I was warmly welcomed by the “West side” team (or Mother Ship) and dove in with the Service Team to learn the business model. A shout out to the service team- you all are awesome… Be great because you can be. I look forward to the great stories to be told in six months!
  • A regular theme and value for us? Lifelong Learning- there is no shortage of that at AIS/Pinnacle.
  • Most important in this whole journey? People matter. You all matter. In the midst of number crunching, whiteboards, hydration stations, CRM workflows, commission plans, and spinning the wheel- It’s you. Life is too short to have our priorities out of line and I can’t express in a blog post of the endless debt I can never pay of your friendships (far too many to name).

A special thanks to Craig Sroda and Maurice Bokhart for the original open door at Pinnacle… carried on by Steve Klatt and Jim Lauer at AIS for this past year.

I’m sure I’ll be able to connect with many of you at different times in the upcoming days and weeks. You are in my prayers- God bless.

Mark

 

“Don’t look for Purpose, Live with Purpose”

Start John AcuffFrom Start, by Jon Acuff: “I’m not a fan of finding your purpose, I’m a fan of living with purpose.” P.50  (Live with intentionality, regularly understanding how you’re spending your time and how it aligns to what you really value. Be in motion, experiment, try, learn. The idea of “one” purpose is silly, we’ll have many throughout our life with different weighting- we can become paralyzed wondering and waiting for the one big “thing”.

Our lives have inputs and outputs. In the business world, we have lead measures and lag measures. Both are very similar. Our outputs or lag measures are the results of what we see in our lives.

I love this clarity from Jon Acuff about finding your purpose. We can spend our whole lives taking personality tests, online surveys, talking to family and friends, and the occasional flipping of the coin to look for our “one big thing” only to spin, spin, spin, spin waiting for the perfect thing to accomplish or chase in our lives. While those inputs can be helpful and being a student of yourself has great value- get off your butt and start. Go. Move. Start.

What are the activities and practices today that will most likely impact future outputs? What are the small things we can start doing today that will help us wake up one day and realize we are closer to being our genuine self, with more joy, and ultimately closer to the person we were created to be?

Here are questions and inputs I’m working through in this effort:

  • What brings me the greatest joy? Not what I want to bring me joy, but what actually does. (As opposed to questions like: What will make money? What jobs are available in the market right now? What do I have the most experience doing?- P.109)
  • “Am I playing to the size of my heart (genuine joy in who I am) or the size of my results (metrics, profitability, size of group, feedback from others)?-  “If you live your life that way (playing to your heart), the results become gravy instead of the missing ingredient to your joy… ” P. 117  Ouch… where did that 2′x4′ come from?
  • “How did I get here”- How did I get to the place I am today? What were the inputs that put me on the path that led here?
  • “What are the voices in my head?”- Really, what is going on in my brain? “We think our voices are friends, but they’re not. They’re foes.”- P. 66  Seriously, the voices in our head are creatively laced with fears, doubts, clever rationale, and a bunch of other junk that wants to bring us back to an average life. “If you ask fear is something is going to work, the answer will always be no.”- P.72
  • “What am I doing in my life to live to the expectations of others of me rather that living a life true to myself?”- (This was a reference to the number one regret of people stated in the last weeks of their lives in Bronnie Ware’s book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. P.89 reference)  I don’t want to come to the end of my life saying this same thing.
  • “What can I not stop doing?” (As opposed to asking the question of what would I love to start doing?- P.91) What’s something in my life I keep coming back to?
  • Who is my secret self? How or what can I do (or am I doing) that is practicing what I love? Is there a place I could volunteer, take a part-time job, practice consulting, or a place I can be led in?”- P.139 Where can I do “reps” on practicing what I love?- P.146
  • “What are my motivations for what I do?”-  “Even if you harvest a thousand accomplishments during your time in this land, treat them as rewards for what you do, not the reasons for what you do.”- P.189 … Accomplishments can be a lousy fuel in our lives…”

 

“Start” is a great playbook on living a life with intentionality and very practical as Jon Acuff shares all of his journey in living a life of “awesome”. God willing, may we all do the same.

 

 

 

10 Thoughts on Faith in the Workplace

As a Christ-follower, how does our Faith translate in the workplace? How is it that we can/should carry ourselves if we really believe what we believe? We don’t need to thump people Faith that Worksover the head with a Bible and preach from the water cooler… Can we simply live out our Faith?

  • We should not compromise our principles. God’s law trumps your boss.
  • We should be the hardest workers. Christ-followers should be the most desired workers on the planet (hard work, integrity, love others, respect authority…)
  • We’re called to love others… the second greatest commandment…  “Do we love our boss”? People matter and we’re surrounded by hurting, lost people…
  • We should be different. We can let our light shine”- to genuinely be different- we should stick out because of our love and care for people… Opportunity to give glory to God…
  • We are great encouragers…calling out the best in people, giving them Hope, recognizing their talents and abilities and giving away praise… Purpose… Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you… plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
  • We speak Truth. Sometimes this is in candid feedback, how people can improve, where they’re missing it… Most avoid conflict- we “want” people to succeed. Integrity matters. Sometimes the most unfair thing we can do is not being honest with people by simply withholding.
  • Our identity is in Christ. Our identity is not in our role, position, or the feedback we get unfairly get. We don’t step over people to get a position unfairly.
  • We don’t gossip. Psalm 101:5  Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.
  • We can be bold. We don’t need to live in fear and we should be slow to speak, slow to anger- but if anyone can say what needs to be said, it can be a Christ-follower. Why? It should be wrapped in love, in care for people, with great intent.
  • We believe people can change. Often people are simply written off, labeled, and discarded… People can change and we believe it because God is all about changed lives.

Everyday we get the opportunity to build up or tear down, to live courageously or to blend to be unseen…  I fail everyday but I hope to keep falling forward… What would you add to this list?

“We. Are. Here. August 29th Michiana”

You are officially invited to lunch on August 29th from 11:00-1:00 to join with other leaders in Michiana to tackle your choice of one of five topics:  Improving Education, August 29thImproving our Economy and Jobs, Hope for Troubled Youth, Raising the Bar on Marriage, and Help for the Homeless. Who should attend?

Business leaders. We’re going to be whiteboarding and having facilitated discussions on actionable next steps we can take in each of these areas. Regardless of your experience in any of these five areas, your ability to solve problems, rally people, sound judgement, and more can add tremendous value to the discussion. We need outside voices and new ideas. You may catch a vision for how your business can make a new impact in our community. Bring a few people from your team.

Not-For-Profit leaders. Find out how you can get more visibility to the great things you’re already doing. Connect with other leaders who care. Learn what ConnectHelp would like to do for your organization and helping get your message out. You have experience and are already serving this community. Even if the topics don’t line up with your specific mission, we’d love to connect to hear your story. Bring it!

Churches and church leaders. How can you best love God and love others in our community? How might your church engage the front lines to help scores of hurting people in our community? What new vision for your congregation might be inspired? Who can you bring as ambassadors for your mission to see if you may be able to align with other leaders in our community to bring Hope? Many different churches will be respresented here.

Courageous leaders. Want to make an impact in our community that is smart, efficient, not redundant, impactful, not window-dressing, and dripping with purpose? Looking to connect with other people looking to do the same? This is not for the spectator, this is for those who want to be in the game and actually get something done.

When:  August 29th, 2013   11:00-1:00

Where: Granger Commons

What: Lunch will be provided- someone has already valued you being there

Why: Change a Life

How: Register HERE  (helps with food planning)

Qualifications Needed: You care and you live in Michiana…. how’s that?

Comfort our Courage… Which do you Choose?

I’m a great Monday morning quarterback. It’s easy for me to pick apart what decisions people have made or haven’t made, where they’re dropping the ball, where I see problems inCourage my community, spout off about what won’t work, and more. Aren’t we all?

Dr. Brene’ Brown said it well, “we can choose comfort or we can choose courage (in our lives and in our decisions)”. I can either comfortably sit in the stands of life and gripe about the decisions made on the field or I can gain the courage to get on the field and be willing to get my butt kicked.

Comfort says:

  • I will do just enough to stay off the radar, I really don’t want people commenting on the choices and stands I make
  • At the first sign of criticism or negativity, I will quit whatever I started
  • Ignore it, it doesn’t impact me
  • Live for myself, possibly my family, and maybe a few other people I like
  • Hold on to my money and my stuff
  • Other people are responsible to fix it
  • It sucks to be them
  • Uh…. I’m busy.

Courage says:

  • I don’t care what people say or think, this is the right thing to do
  • If you aren’t in the game getting your butt kicked too, I can just ignore your petty critiques
  • People matter and there are real needs in our community, I need to jump in and help somewhere
  • I’m responsible… I may not have created the problem(s) but I am going to take this challenge on…
  • Give freely, it is better to give than to receive- my needs will be met
  • If I screw up, I’ll get back up and try plan B (and ignore the I told you so’s)
  • Let’s do this.

I pray we all live courageous lives.

For those who are in Michiana, we have an opportunity to get in the game for our own community. On August 29th, from 11:00-1:00 (with lunch), you can work on tackling one of five different roundtable topics for real issues in Michiana. (You get to choose from Jobs & our Economy, Education, Homelessness, Help for kids in our Juvenile system, and Raising the Bar on Marriages). Two hours. Food. Meet and network with others in the game and learn what efforts are being made right here. Details and RSVP information here. Seriously, two hours, jump in, roll your sleeves up, and take a step. I’ll be there, I hope you will be as well!

Andy Stanley: Christ will continue to build His Church

  • Andy StanleyAndy Stanley
  • The only common factor we have in all our churches and denominations: That we are all part of Jesus’ statement that He will build his “gathering, a congregation” (what we call the Church)
  • Why is it that we’re here? Why are we still talking about Jesus?
  • For some of the Church, there’s a need to start over- get back to Acts
  • The message should have ended with the early messages that Christ has risen from the dead and discarded as crazy talk- but that’s not what happened because they knew it was true because it happened.
  • The central message of the early Church was something “happened”, not what was true.
  • The early church didn’t “huddle”- they went out… (Do churches today simply huddle?)
  • Nothing is going to stop Jesus from building His church.
  • Saul knocked off his horse, after persecuting and killing Christians, Paul becomes the driver for carrying out the mission of Christ and planting churches.
  • What would your brother have to do to convince you he is God? (James, brother of Jesus)
  • What did Paul think on his way to his death about the likelihood of the Church surviving?
  • You can do a lot of activity to make a profit, but nothing will add more significance than being part of the story of Jesus building His Church… it continues today…
  • Friends…. “Stand Firm… Always give yourself to the work of the Lord… Because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
  • There is a cross that stands over the Emperor’s Gate today in the Roman Coliseum- He is still building His Church

Henry Cloud: Our Brain and the 3 P’s

  • Henry CloudHenry Cloud
  • It’s one thing to learn about leadership, the challenge begins when we actually have to do it as we work from where we are today and to navigate to where we want to go tomorrow
  • The hardest thing the leader has to be ridiculously in charge of is themselves
  • How does a downward spiral start with a leader?
  • Leaders that prevent the spiral think, feel, and behave differently
  • Dumb optimists out perform smart pessimists
  • #1 Factor:  Do you believe it can be done?
  • Learned Helplessness: We’re designed where “do A then B will happen”… (Control) What happens in the brain when a circumstance outside your control start happening?
  • The 3 P’s:
  • Personal: Brain starts taking and self talking that “I’m not good enough”… The “dummies” don’t take it personally, they move on to the next opportuunity but it’s not because “I’m not good enough.”
  • Pervasive: “It’s not just that one customer, it’s all my customers…” The brain goes global and everything becomes bad… “My life sucks”…
  • Permanent:  “It will always be this way, it’s not going to change…”
  • There’s a way out of the 3 P’s…
  • Write down the negative thoughts, the negative things a client might say…. 99% is false… Then dispute the negative thought (what do you mean I’m not good enough?)
  • Your brain can send scores of false signals that are whacky “like you’re stupid”…
  • You realize it’s not a pervasive thought by listing the whole list of thoughts and truths… Our lives are a movie not a scene
  • Write down what you can’t control, talk about it for about 5 minutes… Then shift to a list of items you CAN control… then make a list of what you’re going to do…
  • Brain needs 3 things: oxygen, glucose, and relationships
  • Connect. Connect. Connect. The opposite of bad is not doing good, it’s love (focus on relationships and connecting with people)
  • Have an “I’ll find a way” thinking…

Dr. Brene Brown: Love and Belonging with Leadership

  • Dr. Brene’ Brown @brenebrownBrene Brown
  • Studies vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame- studies behavior
  • Irreducible needs of men, women, and children:
  • Love and belonging are the big 2…  the absence of those two, there is always suffering
  • People need to be seen and loved, to belong, and to be brave
  • We are hard-wired for connection
  • Love is messy, hard, tough, gritty…
  • Definition of Love:  We cultivate love when we love our most vulnerable selves to be seen… Love is cultivating and has to start with loving ourselves.
  • Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and withholding affection damage the roots of love
  • Lessons of Leadership through Love:
  • Growth through connection…. You don’t have all the answers… The myth of acting like you have all the answers (you don’t and you’re not supposed to…)
  • We can’t give what we don’t have… Courage, sense of belonging, permission to ask for grace, or help… We can’t give help when we can’t ask for help.
  • When you judge yourself for asking for help, you are by default judging other people when you help…  You’ve attached judgement to needing help.
  • One way judgement shows up… By deriving our self-worth by helping…
  • Love is practice… words much less impactful…
  • The space between how we behave and what we practice everyday vs. Our Aspirational Values…. The gap is where we lose people. The gap between what we do vs. who we want to be… Too hard for people to navigate the gap between what’s practiced and what’s professed.
  • People want people (and churches) that are practicing love (that’s gritty and messy)
  • The killers of love: Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and withholding…
  • Shame can only rise to a certain level before people disengage to self-protect within an organization… Gossip, favoritism
  • Killer: When self worth is connected to what people do (what happens when they fail?)
  • Positive metric: How often have you failed? What did you do when you failed? How quickly did you correct it?
  • If you’ve never given a sermon and wanted to leave town, you’re not trying hard enough.
  • Blame: The simple discharging of pain and discomfort  (It has nothing to do with accountability)
  • Disrespect:  #1 reason why people leave: Lack of feedback… it’s disrespectful…
  • Problem: You can’t be good with feedback if you can’t be vulnerable
  • Belonging: #1 barrier to belonging…. Fitting in… Need to make it possible for people to be seen… We are all desperate to be seen…  We’ll connect with other people in ways that don’t make sense because that need is so strong…
  • The rules here are simple: Be here, be loved, be here, be respected.
  • Being brave: We were born to be brave. Never in our lives do we feel more alive than when we’re being brave.
  •   Feeling like you have to either kill yourself or kill the person you were vulnerable with…
  • How many of us stay just safe enough to be under the radar to avoid the feedback and shame
  • Theodore Roosevelt:  “It’s not the critic that counts, the credit goes to the person that’s actually in the arena…”  (Great comment on being brave)
  • You can choose courage or comfort, you can’t have both. If you sign up for courage, you’re signing up for getting your butt kicked… If you go into that arena, you have to have absolute clarity on your values (and people that truly love you…)  “That sucked, but you were brave…”
  • “If you’re not also in the arena, I’m not open to or listening to your feedback. Period.”
  • As a leader can we say, “It was imperfect but I’m working to contribute more than I criticize…”  That’s a win.

Vijay Govindarajan : Innovation

  • Ongoing operations are always at odds with innovationVijay
  • Strategy is all about leadership in the future by adapting to change with innovation… Strategy IS innovation…

Types of Projects

  • Box 1:  Managing the present, too much focus here typically and mistaken for strategy, execution/dominate logic
  • Box 2:  Selectively Forget the Past
  • Box 3:  Create the Future, Innovation execution
  • Competition for the future is all about innovation
  • Like the styles of high jump that have changed over the years, we need to change the center of gravity in our organization
  • Dominant logic in an organization:  Double edged sword, we need it for day to day operations but can become blinders to innovation and change in an organization
  • Innovation is not just ideas or creativity…. Innovation is commercializing an idea, not the idea… It’s 1% inspiration, 99% persperation (Thomas Edison) The bulk of the change comes in the Execution. Innovation= Leader + Ideas + Execution
  • You have to get the execution right
  • Innovation Leaders: Need to be humble and work with the current Box 1 of the organization
  • Innovation killers:  Thinking innovation can happen within Box 1 (the current operation, ongoing engine), not constituting the plan and team effectively
  • Box 1 can make linear gradual improvement but not create new innovation
  • Some assets of Box 1 can benefit Box 3- these need to be identified… Box 1 pays for Box 3 innovation (Box 1 pays the bills)
  • Box 3 says the Future is Now.
  • Types of people for Box 3 teams:  They know they are created for a different purpose, be courageous to recruit people from the outside as this is a new endeavor…
  • Organizational memory:  Team should not be isolated from Box 1, creates healthy conflicts within an organization
  • Zero based planning:  Learn to resolve challenges and unknowns and all the weak signals and ambiguity…. test, pilot assumptions… spend a little, learn a lot
  • Reverse Innovation:  Example, innovate in a poor country to sell to a wealthy nation vs. wealthy nations selling to poor innovations…
  • Innovation is value for many, not value for money… Do a lot more with a lot less for a lot more people….
  • The US having the humility to accept the innovation that comes from outside the US will be a key to the US’s continued leadership in innovation
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