#149: 3 Reasons I Failed Miserably at Achieving My Goals This Year

And 5 Things I'll Do Differently Next Year

True confession time, I failed miserably at achieving my goals for 2015.  As it turns out I am not alone.

Goal, Resolution, Goals

According to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology , 62% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions at least occasionally. How many are successful in achieving their resolution? A whopping, mid-blowing 8% succeed. That means 92% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions fail to achieve their goal!

To make matters worse, 24% make the same resolutions over and over every year and never succeed—they fail every time!! It’s the very definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome!

As bad as that is, their research suggests that people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals than people who don’t make explicit resolutions! You kind of feel bad for the people who don’t even make resolutions—they don’t have much of a chance to achieve their goals!

My Goals Report Card

Actually I didn’t fail completely, I did achieve some of my goals. I established nine goals for 2015. Here’s my report card:

  • I achieved my personal development goal of reading through the Bible.
  • I achieved my relational goal by taking three vacations with my family.
  • I’ve almost completed my goal to read 12 books. I actually finished 11 and am part way through two others.
  • I failed miserably at my goal of losing the last 8 pounds I needed to lose, and instead gained back weight I lost earlier, so now I have twice as far to go this year!
  • I didn’t achieve my goals to double website traffic, triple podcast traffic, or quadruple my blog subscribers, though I did make substantial progress on each.
  • I didn’t complete a new lead magnet for my website.
  • I cancelled one goal about developing products for sale on the website.

The analytical part of me doesn’t celebrate the victory of a goal completed as long as there are goals that didn’t get completed. I naturally look at the ‘fails’ to see what went wrong.

What went wrong

First, there is a lack of focus. Having nine goals across personal, relational, and vocational spheres was too much. I can’t focus on that many goals with competing demands at once.

Second, while the effort to achieve each individual goal was reasonable enough, the combined workload was beyond my capacity. My eyes, as grandma used to say, were bigger than my stomach.

Third, I made the mistake of taking on another piece of work early in the year without thinking about how it would impact my ability to achieve the goals I had already established. This extra work took several hours a day seven days a week all year long. Once the commitment was made this work superseded work on all my other goals.

What I’ll do differently this next year

  • As I consider each individual goal I will estimate the amount of time each will take so that I don’t exceed my capacity. I couldn’t have finished all the work in these nine goals if I had worked twice as many hours!
  • I will leave a significant margin in my work plan for unexpected opportunities. I had overbooked my capacity so much there was no margin.
  • I will limit the number of goals I establish to the ones that will make the biggest difference.
  • I will evaluate my progress more frequently, and make needed course corrections. This year I established my written goals, but didn’t look at them frequently enough to ensure I was staying on track.
  • I will be more disciplined in evaluating the opportunities that arise during the year. If they don’t align what God has called me to do the answer is an easy, “no.” If they don’t contribute to the completion of an existing goal, the answer again is “no.” Saying “yes” to good things that didn’t help me accomplish my goals is what got me into a deep hole this year that I couldn’t climb out of.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Do you establish written goals? If you are achieving your goals what are you doing that makes you successful? Do you have any other advice/tips to help me as I consider establishing goals for next year?

 

Category: Personal Development | Priorities

 

#148: What Holy Night is This?

I am the kind of singer that King David had in mind when he said, “Make a joyful noise unto the world” (Psalm 100). I cannot, as they say, “carry a note in a bucket.” However, I am a joyful singer, and I am most joyful at Christmas time when I hear hymns like O Holy Night.

O Holy Night

O Holy Night was written in 1843 as a poem by French atheist, Placide Cappeau, at the request of a local parish priest. In 1847 Adolphe Adam, a French composer, added a musical score to Cappeau’s poem. It was later translated into English with some slightly different lyrics by John Sullivan, founder of the Harvard Music Society.

O Holy Night

  1. O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
    It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
    Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
    ‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
    A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
    For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Chorus
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

  1. Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming;
    With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand:
    So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
    Here come the wise men from Orient land,
    The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,
    In all our trials born to be our friend;

Chorus
He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King! before him bend!

  1. Truly He taught us to love one another;
    His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
    Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
    And in his name all oppression shall cease,
    Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
    Let all within us praise his Holy name!

Chorus
Christ is the Lord, then ever! ever praise we!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!

O Holy Night–Verse 1

The first verse of O Holy Night describes the coming of Jesus. His coming should fill us with hope and joy. God loved us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, that whomever might believe in him might not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

The price of our redemption from sin was not gold or silver, but the precious blood of the spotless lamb, Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). The fact the Father was willing to sacrifice His one and only Son on our behalf indicates how much He loves us.

O Holy Night—Verse 2

The second verse of O Holy Night reminds us the King of kings and Lord of Lords was born as a human infant and placed in a manger. The wise men followed a star and found the baby Jesus laying in a manger and they worshipped Him there.

The wise men worshipped at His feet in the manger. We worship Him at the foot of the Cross. Jesus bore all our sins so we might we might be adopted into God’s family and cry out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).

O Holy Night—Verse 3

The third verse of O Holy Night calls us to love one another, to set aside differences that separate us and become one in Christ. His law is love.  Teaching His disciples, Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

His Gospel is peace, praise His Holy name. Teaching the Philippians, Paul said, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

As we celebrate this Christmas season, let us remember the reason for the season is a tiny baby who lay in a manger, who lived a sinless life to redeem us from our sins. At the foot of the cross we meet our Savior.

My Christmas prayer for you is that the love of God and His peace will be with you always.

In His Service,

RonRKelleher clear 200 x 123

Join the Conversation

Do you have any favorite Christmas hymns that hold special meaning to you? What are they?

 

Category: Personal Development |Dependence on God

#147: Is Being a Servant Leader Really a Good Thing?

There’s been a lot of talk of talk the past few years about the importance of being a servant leader in business. In my experience most of the time it’s just talk. It sounds good to be called a servant leader. It strokes our frail little egos if we can convince ourselves that we are servant leaders.

Jesus Servant Leader

But the cold-hard truth is being a real servant leader is hard, and it requires more dedication, trust, and work than most people are willing to put forth.

The Servant Leader

The priority of the servant leader is to equip, enable, and encourage their subordinates to live up to their full potential.

Servant leaders combine a desire to serve others with a steadfast commitment to lead. They are often described as being visionaries, empowering, relational, trustworthy, and humble.

Examples of Servant Leaders

There are many servant leaders in the Bible. I’ve selected just four examples to share today:

  • Abram (Abraham) led his men to victory in battle. He refused to take any spoils for himself, but allowed the men who joined him in the battle to take their share of the spoils. Abram cared more about the men who risked their lives in battle than he cared about enriching himself. (Genesis 14:21-24)
  • David cared for Mephibosheth. King David, out of loyalty to his friend Jonathan, son of Saul, took in Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. David restored Mephibosheth all the property and possessions that had belonged to Saul. David served Mephibosheth out of love and loyalty to Jonathan. (2 Samuel 9:1-13)
  • Mordecai worked to save the entire Jewish population. Not concerned for his own safety and security, Mordecai enabled Esther to confront King Ahasuerus with Haman’s evil plan to annihilate the Jews. The plan was foiled and Mordecai, along with Esther, ended up saving the entire Jewish people. (Esther 9:1-10:3)
  • Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. Foot washing was the job of a household servant, but Jesus washed the disciple’s feet as an example of what it meant to be a true servant leader. Jesus turned the world’s values upside down: The Son of God, lived and died serving others. (John 13:14-15)

Disadvantage of Servant Leadership

The primary disadvantage of adopting a servant leadership philosophy is it is a long-term strategy. It takes time to establish the levels of trust, employee engagement, loyalty, etc. that positively impact results.

Leaders who naturally operate out of an autocratic style of leadership often do not have the courage to release authority and trust subordinates. They don’t have the patience for a long-term leadership style like servant leadership. They want results now and they want it done their way!

Advantages of Being a Servant Leader

There are many advantages to being a servant leader, but here are five that I think are most important:

  • Servant leadership maximizes the career development of employees.
  • Servant leadership leads to high levels of employee loyalty. Turnover is reduced.
  • Servant leadership builds trust within an organization which leads to high levels of employee engagement.
  • Servant leadership leads to high levels of customer service and customer loyalty.
  • Servant leadership has the power to impact society in a positive way.

Of all the advantages of servant leadership it is this last one; the potential to impact society in a positive way, that makes servant leadership worth all the effort, and counters all the potential disadvantages.

Join the Conversation

Have you worked for servant leaders in the past? How does that compare to non-servant leaders you know? Do you think being a servant leader can be an effective leadership philosophy in today’s business world?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

 

Category: Relationships | Servant Leadership

#146: There are only Two Kinds of Leaders

There are only two kinds of leaders.

Leaders

There are those who view their leadership position as an opportunity to take as much as they possible can from the organization. I call them the takers.

The other kind of leader views their leadership position as an opportunity to give to the organization. I call them the givers.

Givers and Takers. As a leader it all boils down to, are you a giver or a taker?

The takers take things like the big office, the title, the salary, and the extra perks. They believe organization owes them these things because of who they are.

The givers look to see what they can give to the organization. They look for ways to serve the organization. They care less about themselves and more about the organization.

On the very top of my takers list of Biblical leaders are Judas and Herod the Great.

Taker: Judas

Judas was an apostle of Jesus. He was called to be one of the top 12 leaders to take the Gospel to the world. But what was he worried about? Judas was stealing some money out of the money bag when he saw fit, and then complaining when a woman anointed the Lord with perfume.

He hoped Jesus would crush the Romans, and establish Himself as king. Then, being in the inner circle, he would score a nice plush job, with a big office in the temple. Knowing his fondness for money he probably had his eye on the job of Secretary of the Treasury. He was in it for what he could get; money, power, and position.

Taker: Herod the Great

It is said that it was safer to be a dog in Herod’s palace than one of his family members. Herod had most of his wives and even his own children killed because he saw them as questioning his authority or a threat to his rule. Of course Herod was also the king who heard about a baby born in Bethlehem who would be king, so he ordered all the babies in Bethlehem under two years old killed. Herod loved to tax the Jewish people to fund his lifestyle and his personal building projects. All Herod wanted to do was hang on to the money, power, and position he already had.

There are quite a few Biblical leaders who were givers. Aside from the obvious choice of Jesus, one of my top picks for a giving leader is Barnabas.

Giver: Barnabas

Barnabas was a Levite from the island of Cyprus who converted to Christianity early on. Barnabas’ first act of service to the young Christian church was when he sold some land he had and gave the entire amount to the apostles to distribute as they saw fit.

Later, when a new convert to Christianity named Paul wanted to work with the disciples in Jerusalem, it was Barnabas who stood up for Paul, introducing him to the disciples, and vouching for him.

Barnabas saw a need and helped to meet the need out of his own resources.

He saw a young man named Paul and believed in him. He helped Paul establish himself as a preacher of the Gospel.

Some time later Paul and Barnabas were working hard in the mission field with a young man named Mark. Mark was younger and less experienced. Rather than continuing on with Paul, the star of the mission field, Barnabas took Mark under his wing and mentored him.

Barnabas saw something special in Paul and Mark. He cared not for his own status, but was a giver who was only concerned with doing everything he could to further the Christian church.

The End Result is Relationships

The kind of leader you are, whether a giver or taker, will have a bearing on the kind of relationships you build with those you lead.

Judas sold out the movement and ended up killing himself all because he didn’t get what he wanted.

Herod ruled through fear and intimidation. Paranoia was the guiding light to his leadership style.

Barnabas, on the other hand, was a generous and supportive leader. He was not afraid to stand up for what he thought was right. He cared little for his own position and more about equipping the fledgling organization to take the Gospel to the world. Barnabas’ name means “Son of Encouragement” and it is easy to see why.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What kind of a leader are you? Are you a giver or a taker? What kind of leaders have you worked for – givers or takers? Which did you want to work for?

 

Category: Relationship | Servant Leadership

 

#145: Building Positive Attitudes Builds Results

10 Biblical Principles

Seldom, if ever, will a thing be done by someone who thinks it cannot be. Building your business requires the work of people who believe that a thing can be done.

The evening of October 21, 1931 lights all over the United States were dimmed to honor the passing of Thomas Alva Edison at the request of President Herbert Hoover. Years earlier one of Edison’s lab assistants said they had failed to make a working electric light despite 10,000 tries. Edison replied that they had not failed once, but that by having tried 10,000 times they were just that much closer to having found the answer.

Imagine where we would be today if Edison had replied, “You’re right, let’s quit trying.” Edison believed they could make an electric light work, and he passed that positive attitude on to his young employee.

Here are ten Biblical principles to help you develop and maintain positive attitudes in the workplace:

1. Set positive goals

Everyone knows high achieves regularly set goals for themselves. As you consider goals that are important to you make sure that they are positive goals; goals that will focus on, and achieve that which is important to you.

Paul writes, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14). Paul clearly had a goal in mind, and he wasn’t going to let past difficulties keep him from reaching towards achieving future goals.

2. Develop specific action steps to achieve goals

Goals in and of themselves do not help us very much unless we also develop specific action plans that will help us achieve our goals.  

Moses did precisely this as he instructed the spies going into the Promised Land to determine the strength of their armies. Nehemiah also developed very specific action steps when he went to rebuild Jerusalem. Luke wrote, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28).

3. Review progress toward goals frequently

You can review your progress yourself, but a wise leader will also get feedback from superiors, peers, mentors, and those whose opinions he trusts. Solomon wrote, The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).

Check progress toward goals and ask for feedback regularly. The longer you wait to assess progress the more likely you will find yourself off-course.

4. Underscore the positive

Develop a habit of reviewing your work to see the positive in what you have done. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8 NAS). Paul’s admonition is clear; find the positive and dwell on it rather than the negative.

It is important for you as the leader to convey a positive attitude at all times, and to be able to reinforce the positive attitude in others. This is impossible to do if you focus on everything that is wrong, but is easy if you focus on the positive.

5. Associate with positive people

Attitudes are contagious so surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook. Moses understood how contagious negative attitudes are when he said, “And now, is anyone afraid? If you are, go home before you frighten the rest of us!” (Deuteronomy 20:8 LB). Moses was giving instructions to the military commanders about who should be allowed into the army. He didn’t want anyone who wasn’t fully committed that might have a negative attitude because he knew that their attitude would affect others.

Gideon provides another example as God reduces the size of his army from 32,000 to the 300 bravest men and Gideon then defeats the Midianite army that “could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore” (Judges 7:12).

6. Turn negatives into opportunities

View negative situations as opportunities. No work environment is perfect so there will be times when things go wrong. If you approach these difficult times as opportunities for growth you will maintain and spread a positive attitude in your organization. James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever your face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:23). Every difficult or negative situation is an opportunity for you to stand apart from the crowd by being positive. Endeavor always to turn negatives into opportunities!

7. Maintain good physical, emotional, and spiritual health

Your good mental and physical health shapes your attitudes. Maintaining your health is an important part maintaining a positive attitude. “Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is like slow death to be gloomy all the time” (Proverbs 17:22 GN). Making time for exercise, rest, you family, and God will go a long way toward keeping a positive attitude.

8. Believe in yourself

You have overcome difficult situations before, and the difficulty you face today is probably no worse than other situations you’ve faced. Believe that you have the skills to overcome a negative situation by maintaining a positive outlook. “If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). Know that God will give you the strength and skill to face every challenge if you look to Him.

9. Serve others

Consider donating time to the service of others. The opportunities for service are endless; churches and para-church organizations always need volunteers, so do hospitals, schools, etc. Find a worthy organization and give them a few hours a month. You’ll be amazed at how this simple act of service will change the perspective you have on the rest of your life.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul exhorts them to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. So, then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal 6:2,10 NAS).

10. Focus on God

It is difficult to maintain a positive attitude when things are going well most of the time, and near impossible to do when chaos erupts all around us.

The key to keeping your head when all around you are losing theirs is to keep your focus on God. As Luke points out, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despite the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13 NAS). To keep your focus on God join a church, consider a good bible study, read your bible every day, and spend time in prayer.

One Final Thought

There are a number of people who expound the “power of positive thinking”. They say that your power to think positively leads you to positive results.

This is where the Christian leader must separate themselves; the ability to maintain a positive focus is driven by our faith in God. Consider the prophet Jeremiah’s warning to Judah, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

Keep your focus on God and you will not only have a more positive attitude yourself, but you will help those who work with you to keep a positive attitude as well.

Bonus Whitepaper

If you would like a broader discussion on this topic, download the free 6-page whitepaper, Building Positive Attitudes Builds ResultsIt includes:

  • the 4 origins of attitudes
  • the affect of attitude on self-image
  • 6 ways an employee’s perceptions inform their attitudes at work

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. How does your attitude effect your work? How does it impact how you feel throughout the day?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

Category: Personal Development | Character

#144: The Five Essentials to Adding Value to Others

As leaders, we know to be successful in the business world we need to be adding value to our consumers if we expect them to beat a path to our door. More enlightened leaders recognize the importance of adding value to employees. But exactly how does a leader accomplish this goal of adding value to employees?

Adding Value Father Son

In his recent book, Intentional Living—Choosing a Life That Matters, author John Maxwell provides five essentials to adding value to others. Maxwell’s focus is general; how we can add value to others, but I want to borrow his 5 essentials framework and apply the principles to leaders and employees.

To add value to employees I MUST:

1) Value Myself. As Maxwell says it is impossible to consistently value others if I do not value myself. In other words, my image of self controls my daily behavior. My self-image should be formed by how God views me, and He views me very highly.

  • Psalm 139:13-16 says God knitted us together in our mother’s womb, and that we a fearfully and wonderfully made. God loves us and cares for us as His children more than we can possibly imagine.

2) Value Others. People need to know that they matter to others. Much of people’s self-image is informed by the environment they live in. If they do not feel valued they will not act valued. What would happen if I demonstrate I value others the way God values them?

  • Philippians 2:13 says in humility we should value others above ourselves.

3) Value what others have done for me. If I am thankful for what others have done for me, that attitude of thankfulness will be apparent to others. Have you ever met a “negative Nancy”? Think of Eor, the donkey in Winnie the Pooh. Eor was eternally negative and pessimistic. That kind of negative attitude wears on people. If I am thankful for the many blessings I’ve gained from other people in my life it’s an easy step to express that to others.

  • Ephesians 5:20 says we should give thanks always and in everything to God in Jesus’ name.

4) Know and Relate to what others value. People naturally respond to people who show interest in them or take the time to get to know them. If I know what is important to someone (their faith, their family, their career, etc.) they know I care. If they know I know and care, they’ll feel valued.

  • Matthew 7:12 Jesus says we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us (aka Golden Rule).

5) Make myself more valuable. I cannot add value to someone else unless and until I have something of value to give them. I need to keep growing in order to keep adding value to other people.

  • Proverbs 1:5 says wise men listen and add to their learning and the discerning obtain guidance.

So that’s it; five essentials for leaders to add value to employees. It starts with us, we need to understand and accept how much God loves and values us. We need to let employees know how much we value them. We need to be thankful for all that others have done for us. We need to know and relate to what others value. And finally, we need to keep learning and growing so we can continue to add value to others.

I highly recommend John Maxwell’s new book Intentional Living—Choosing a Life That Matters. For everyone who is a leader and for everyone who wants to be a leader, this is a must read. If you purchase it on Amazon though this link you’ll pay the same price, but I will receive a small affiliate commission from Amazon. To purchase or learn more click here.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What do you think is essential to add value to others? Do you struggle with any of these?

 

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

 

Category: Relationships | Servant Leadership

#143: The Single Most Powerful Way to End Your Day—Guaranteed!

If you are anything like me when the day is done you turn off the computers and televisions, put the cellphone and the I-Pad on their chargers and head off to bed to get some much needed rest. But wait!

Powerful, Prayer, Day

Before you close your eyes and drift off to never, never land I want you to do one more thing. It will only take a few minutes and it is without a doubt the most powerful way to end your day and set up tomorrow for success. Guaranteed!

If you read last week’s blog I said the most powerful way to start your day was to pray the Prayers of Intentions before your feet hit the floor.

Guess what this week’s recommendation is?! That’s right, pray. But this time I want you to pray through what is called the Prayer of Examination at the end of your day.

Over 400 years ago St Ignatius Loyola began the practice at the end of every day of praying through the day.

Praying the Prayer of Examination

There is no single “best” or “right” way to review your day in prayer. What is most important is that you are honest with the Lord and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

  • Come into God’s presence. Often our days are a confusing jumble of activities. Ask God to calm your heart, and open your mind to hear what the Holy Spirit has for you.
  • Give thanks. Review the events of the day with an attitude of gratitude. Every day is a gift from God. Give thanks to God that He is always with you!
  • Be sensitive to the emotions you felt throughout the day. As you review the events of the day consider what emotions you experienced. Were you angry, sad, joyful, bored, or energized? What situations contributed to these emotions?
  • Hone in on one event. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind a single event during the day, whether it was positive or negative, and prayerfully consider if there is something you could have done better, a sin you need to confess, or someone you need to minister to.
  • Look toward tomorrow. As you consider what tomorrow might bring, ask God to give you His wisdom, His understanding, His strength, and His power!

Like the Prayer of Intentions if you’ll commit to praying through the Prayer of Examinations every day for 30 days with an open and honest heart I guarantee you’ll feel closer to the Lord, and wake up feeling more refreshed than ever before!

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you engaged in some form of a prayer of examination at some point during your life? How did it make you feel? Did it make a difference in your life?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

#142: The Single Most Powerful Way to Start Your Day–Guaranteed

I am a firm believer that how you start your day has a great deal to do with how your day will go.

Powerful Start to Day

When you wake up do you roll-over and scream into your pillow, “Good God, its morning!” as you anticipate the trials and tribulations of the day?

Or do you wake up with a smile saying to yourself, “Good God, its morning!” as you anticipate the joys of the day God has for you?

I’ll be the first to admit that for much of my life, especially those years spent in the corporate world, I was waking up screaming into my pillow.

Then I discovered that if spent a few minutes in prayer before my feet hit the floor my day got off to a better start. The number of days when I woke up screaming into my pillow as I greeted the dawn began to decrease.

When I was in seminary a professor taught me how to take my morning prayer ritual to new heights in a way that set up my day to be the best it could be.

Creating a Powerful Start to Your Day

Dr. John Coe, Director of the Department of Spiritual Formation at Biola University, taught us what he calls the Prayer of Intentions. The Prayer of Intentions takes only a few minutes, but I guarantee when done every morning it will set you up for a great day:

  1. Prayer of Presenting Oneself as a Sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2): the spiritual discipline of daily presenting oneself to God as a living sacrifice, open to Him and His will in all things.

Prayer of Intention: “Lord, I am here, I present myself and my will to you as my act of worship. Here I am.”

  1. Prayer of Recollection (Phil. 3:7-9): the spiritual discipline of reminding the self of its true identity in Christ (full pardon, full acceptance) and “Christ in me” (that I am not alone).

Prayer of Intention: “God, whatever I do today, I want to do this in you. I don’t want to do this alone, in my own power or as a way to hide and cover. I don’t want to find my identity in anything but Christ. I am in Christ, I am the beloved, and that is my true identity.” (Confess any idolatry)

  1. Prayer of Honesty (Ps. 15:1-2, Ps. 139:23-24): the spiritual discipline whereby we open to God and ourselves in what is truly going on in our heart in order for truth-telling to take place in our relationships and life in general.

Prayer of Intention: “Lord, what is going on in my heart right now with You, with others, with my life, my situations? Search me, O God, and know my heart. Open my heart to you today in truth, lest I deceive myself.” (Confess any idolatry)

  1. Prayer of Discernment (Eccles. 7:13-14, Phil. 2:12-13): the spiritual discipline whereby we learn to watch what the Spirit is doing in us and not merely our work, to “consider the work of God,” what His will is in all things versus ours or the devil’s so that we can better cooperate with the Spirit. Here we seek wisdom on how to respond to His work that is ongoing within us.

Prayer of Intention: “Lord, what are you doing and what is it that you want me to become and do if I am to do your will?”

Establish Your Daily Routine

I guarantee you will begin your days feeling blessed and joyful if you will spend a few minutes saying Good Morning to God before your feet hit the floor.

So tomorrow when you wake up, spend a few minutes to pray through each of the four Prayers of Intention.

Do it every morning for the next 30 days, until it becomes part of your routine. If you do, I bet you’ll stop waking up screaming into your pillow.

I edited Dr. Coe’s Prayer of Intention for length. If you would like to read his complete piece click here.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Do you have a morning prayer routine? How does it impact how you feel throughout the day?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

 

#141: The Four Critical Roles of a Sales Manager

That are important for every manager!

Responding to a survey question “What business discipline would you like to learn more about?” the number one response of business people was Sales Management. The respondents were the usual mix of upper and lower managers in large and small companies representing most corporate functions.

Critical Roles of Sales Manager

Why the interest in sales management? Part of the answer is that some of the respondents are sales managers who want to become more effective, while others see sales management as part of their career path. Many of the general management group wanted to learn how to lead and manage sales managers.

A quick search on Amazon yields over 75,000 titles confirming there is a lot of interest in learning how to be a better sales manager.

The Four Critical Roles of a Sales Manager

Sales managers face some unique challenges.

First of all, the type of people they manage. Salespeople are by nature outgoing, socially driven egocentrics. These characteristics translate into employees that are individualists who are most concerned with their own personal production. In today’ business environment where building “teams” is all the rage, the salesman is perhaps the most difficult convert.

Second, the sales manager is often half-field based and half-corporate, resulting in a less than complete exposure to overall corporate functions.

What exactly is the role of a sales manager in today’s business environment? While the answer varies by industry, here are four roles of sales managers in almost all businesses:

  • Deliver expected results on time and on budget.
  • Represent the needs of the sales department back to the company.
  • Identify and solve problems.
  • Train and develop personnel.

Let’s review each of these in more detail.

Deliver Expected Results

The ability to meet commitments in any organization is important, and that is especially true for the sales manager.

Here are just a few of the areas where a sales manager is expected to deliver results:

  • To the company, sales managers are responsible for delivering volume, at specific prices (or profit levels), on certain timing, and they are responsible for the reports that general management uses to make decisions.
  • To their employees, sales managers are responsible for delivering needed training and development, support with customers, and accurate, timely information with which to sell.
  • To the customers, sales managers are responsible for delivering fair and equitable offers across all customers, and insuring the sales force deals with them in good faith.

Represent the Sales Department

The sales manager supplies a critical communication link between the field sales organization and the corporate sales office. Like a filter, the sales manager controls what goes up the organization and what goes down. This role is especially important in large, multi-layered organizations.

The reason is more management layers result in more information sent to and requested from sales. It is not unusual for manufacturing, product supply, marketing, and even finance departments to want input from sales.

In smaller organization these departments may see sales people as a matter of course, but in the large organizations spread out across the U.S. or the world, that rarely happens. The sales manager ends up acting as a filter for requests for information – otherwise, the sales force will spend most of their time filling out reports instead of selling.

The sales manager also controls field visits. Headquarter people often want live sales input. While this is valuable, it can become a productivity problem for the sales force. The sales manager needs to control the number of visits, make sure there is a real need for live contact, that the right people are involved, and that the timing is not disruptive to the sales force.

The sales manager also filters information from field sales directed back to corporate. Sales people are not a bashful lot. They have a lot of ideas for products, promotions, etc. They are the closest link to the customer, so they are in tune with the market. From all these ideas are some real gems that will increase efficiency, reduce costs, lead to significant product improvements, or even whole new lines of products. As this information filters up to the sales manager, he or she provides additional perspective and should support ideas that are worth a trial.

Identify and Solve Problems

The ability to identify and solve problem is a skill required of any successful manager. While there are many potential problem areas that would involve the sales manager, here are a few of the most common:

  • Problems from corporate; issues with sales volume, budgets, or manufacturing capacity.
  • Problems from field sales; personnel, product availability, product not meeting specifications, or competitive problems like pricing, product lineup, etc.
  • Problems from customers; issues of product not meeting order specifications, not delivered on time, or priced incorrectly.

Knowing where the problems come from is just the beginning. The real skill is projecting what problems are likely to arise in the future, and create solutions ahead of time.

Train and Develop Personnel

Perhaps the most important role of a sales manager is to train and develop personnel. Like parents raising children, training and developing good employees is the legacy we leave behind long after we are gone.

In the case of a corporation, the legacy of well-trained employees is what insures the future success of the company. Richard Deupree (retired chairman of Procter & Gamble) once said, “If you leave us our money, our buildings, and our brands but take away our people, the company will fail. But if you take away our money, our buildings, and our brands, but leave us all of our people, we can rebuild the whole thing in a decade.”

One Final Thought

Psalm 37 provides some excellent advice for us as we face the daily challenge of being good employees, spouses, and parents: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” (Psalms 37:4, 5, 7, 11 NIV).

Delight in what the Lord brings into your life. All things work together for good for those who love the Lord. Remember that God is in control, not you. Commit your life, including your work, to Him. If you will wait on the Lord and trust in him, you will have peace in your heart and less stress in your life.

Finally, stay focused on the Lord. Through all the trials and tribulations of life, do not be tempted to cut corners or compromise your integrity. Do not be envious of deceitful men who prosper, they will all reap what they have sown.

Bonus Whitepaper

If you would like a broader discussion on this topic, download the free 11-page whitepaper, The Four Critical Roles of a Sales Manager.” It includes:

  1. A broader discussion of the four critical roles of a sales manager.
  2. 5-skill sets/attributes you need to have to be an effective sales manager.
  3. Meeting Notes. A guide to help you conduct a meeting with your staff to establish yourself as the leader and set expectations.
  4. Executive Summary of action keys for the sales manager.
  5. Cases in real life. A newly appointed sales manager tries to establish himself and build a team.
  6. Executive Spotlight. An interview with an executive about God’s impact on him and his business.
  7. Some great inspirational Bible quotes about courage, tact, wisdom, strength, and determination.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Which of these roles is most important in your organization (regardless of whether it is as a sales manager), and why?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

Category: Skill Development | Human Resource Development