Categories
maturity Social Action

Fearing the right things

Franklin D. RooseveltContrary to popular belief– I do have fears.

Every day I ride my bike to work, I’m fearful of getting hit by a car.

When I’m out bodyboarding, I’m fearful of getting killed by a shark.

When my kids are late coming out of school, I’m fearful that something happened to them.

I have the same fears as everyone else. I recognize that there are things with which it is healthy to have fear.

But I refuse to be defined by my fears

Fears are often irrational. I’ve got a pretty slim chance of getting hit by a car, or killed by a shark, or that my kids will be kidnapped from their school.

That’s the rational reality.

So, I chose to not have my life defined by paralyzing fear of those things.

I have no fear of opportunity

The lens of fear is the wrong lens to judge an opportunity. You can’t worry about failure. You can’t worry about getting emotionally hurt. You can’t worry if people will like you. And you can’t worry about what people will think if you say yes or say no.

You need a better lens than that. You need a level head to determine whether an opportunity is good for you or not.

I often say no to ideas presented to me. But I never allow fear to be a part of the equation.

Why?

Deep down I know that I shouldn’t fear what could happen if something goes wrong. Instead, I fear what could happen if I don’t try.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, standing before the world on his inauguration day. With everything to fear– from wars on two continents looming, a depression lasting nearly a decade, and even his private battle with paralysis:

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. listen

Categories
Church Leadership management maturity

4 Things to Do With a Legit Opportunity

Let’s face it, success is about being opportunistic.

Here’s my simple outlook on opportunities. I’m thankful that I’ve made more right steps than wrong ones so far. But having the right outlook on the various ideas I’m presented with makes a huge difference.

  1. Pause to ask questions, hard ones. If you don’t ask how something will help you no one else will.
  2. Think about how you want to tie it in. You know what they say… if you don’t have a defined target you’ll miss it every time.
  3. Be audaciously bold. Wimps need not be opportunist. Go after things, with gusto!
  4. Go. Sitting on the sidelines will never get you anywhere. Nor will being shy or nervous about failure. Jump first, ask for forgiveness later.
Categories
management maturity mistakes Notre Dame

You’ve got to finish

My little football heart got broken last night. First, San Diego State gave up a touchdown with 50 seconds left to giveaway a victory to #25 Missouri. That would have been their best start in 30+ years. Then, a few hours later, Notre Dame gave up a silly trick play for a touchdown to lose to Michigan State.

In both cases, it was about finishing the game. Both teams were sloppy. In one game, a lack of tackling discipline cost them the game. In the other, being over-aggressive cost them an embarrassing lose and landed them on Sportscenter for all the wrong reasons.

For those of us who lead, both games were a powerful reminder for finishing.

In life, just like in football, your last play leaves a lasting memory. No one cares how well SDSU or Notre Dame played on Saturday. We’ll only remember the embarrassing finish.

Do you have a strategy for finishing a project well?

Categories
Church Leadership management maturity Social Action

Innovating with an established ecosystem

Photo by fmgbain via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Starting a new organization is an entirely different task than innovating to change an existing organization.

Both are hard. But changing and existing organization is way harder.

For most of my career I’ve been in turnaround roles. Kristen and I have a little joke… My entire adult work life has seemed like one roller coaster ride after another.

Click, click, click, click… up we climb.

Click, click, click, click. My heart races.

Wait for it. Wait for it… Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Arms up. Screaming bloody murder. Thinking of the Tom Petty song, Free Falling.

Down the big hill we go.

Over and over again I’m left to help try to innovate our way out of the mess.

And, so far, I’ve been pretty successful at it by most people’s judgement.

How does one innovate within an existing ecosystem?

  1. Become Switzerland. There are political factions within any organization. If you want to get stuff done you need to be neither and empathetic both sides at the same time.
  2. Spike the football. When you do something that everyone is happy with its OK to just look into the camera and say, “Thank you very much. Woohoo! Hi mom!” I’ve seen a lot of people fail in an organization because they were afraid to take the credit for their own ideas doing well. Don’t be an idiot. It’s OK to be the guy to do good stuff. Spike the football.
  3. Own the data. Existing organizations are horrible at owning their data. I like to look at the results of a long-standing program that has had no results and say, “30 years of VBS and not a single new family? Why didn’t we just light that $300,000 on fire? At least we would have had a good BBQ.” When people are tied to tradition or the way they’ve always done things, sometimes you need to be the person with the frying pan who hits them in the head. Helping people in leadership own the data is the catalyst to getting stuff done in an existing organization.
  4. Be creative. Face it. A fist full of money and a fat belly has never created a single good idea. Have you seen Bing? No budget, no time, no research, shot in the dark… that’s when good stuff happens. That’s when the best ideas pop into your head. Creativity and innovation come out of suffering and frustration. These are your friends and allies, not your enemies.
  5. Opportunistic eyes. I keep a list of ideas I’ve got on ice. Then, when I’m in a meeting and everyone is scratching their heads looking for something new, bam… I’m pull out my concept. If I ran around screaming about every idea I had all the time I’d look like a mad scientist.

What are some ways you’ve learned to innovate within an existing ecosystem?