Trust and Value

[Trust is] the foundational principle that holds all relationships.
-Stephen Covey

trust and value

Trust is the pipeline through which all value moves. I recently wrote on value and the need for value propositions to be made if progress is to be expected. Trust, in my estimation, is a key element in value exchange. Here is the flow as I see it. Imagine a pipe. Through the pipe flows needs and wants in one direction. After, in the opposite direction, flows value. And then consideration returns. Now imagine with me a pipe the size a drinking straw, the cocktail sort. For some reason the other trust is not there. Needs and wants are restricted. The other is guarded with their desires. They not think it in their best interest to open up and share. The result. The first has not the opportunity to help. Even what little they gleam, the straw so small can only receive value in step. Of course consideration is in proportion to value and so the whole thing, the whole process lackluster. Leaving both feeling of what it should have been.

Now image with me a pipe so grand in diameter. Needs and wants are freely shared. Even a hint of a desire is known the other before it is solidified. And value, oh how it can move through this pipeline. Consideration always in proportion leaves both feeling impressed. To put it simply: the more trust; the bigger the pipe. The bigger the pipe; the more desires, value and consideration, which all are in proportion to each other, can flow. It all starts with trust.

Trust, in my estimation, is fundamental to relationships. And business and partnerships are simply relationships. If you ever hear something of the sort, “nothing personal, it’s just business.” This is a hint, in my estimation, that someone does not understand how to move value. That they do not understand business at all.

Are you spending the time building trust that is needed in your business relationship to reach your organization’s goals? How would you measure trust? Perhaps our receipts is a good place to start?

 

-A takeaway from a Mavidea client website UX meeting

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

Collaboration vs Coordination

Value proceeds progress

collaboration vs. coordination

Have you ever found yourself in a team environment that goes no where? Nothing gets done. A committee perhaps. When I find myself in these situations I make it a point to talk about a truth that I have discovered. A saying I have adopted. A practice of habit and method of working with others I use. I have found that it clears these situations up quite nicely. People get it. People respond to it. In my experience it has breathed hope and life back into these gatherings which showed so much promise at setting out but somewhere along the way took a wrong turn. It is sometimes a hard pill to swallow for those that are not all that interested in doing any real work. Everyone who wants progress rallies around it and progress is what is had if it is adopted. Here it is. Value proceeds progress.

I was recently approached by The National Society of Leadership and Success to do an interview for content to push out to their members. During the interview I was asked what lessons I had learned about collaboration. I shared with them something I learned while in the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program at Illinois State University. While there I had the privilege of studying under Dr. Steven Taylor. Dr. Taylor is brilliant, an academic’s academic. I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from him. Dr. Taylor was also an incredible teacher. That is, I learned new and highly valuable skills and adopted them as habits under his instruction. Dr. Taylor taught me many valuable things and one of the most valuable was the difference between collaboration and coordination.

  • Collaboration. In my estimation, the goal is getting all the information on the table.
  • Coordination. In my estimation, the goal is getting the work done. You do this. I’ll do that. Let’s go.

In my estimation getting to ‘let’s go’ is often the issue that committees struggle with. So I want to talk just a bit about getting to ‘let’s go’, which is where I have come to believe all the progress happens.

Value proceeds progress. Value propositions. The language of business. A deal. A proposed exchange. These are what are needed for progress. If there are no value propositions there will be no progress. Ideas will never reach their potential until a value proposition for executing them is made. Let me present a, hopefully, simple and adaptable example in an effort to make things clear and useful.

An idea that a certain set of stakeholders would benefit from a certain thing. Let us say a community wants a park. Ok so people are gathered to talk about the park. Quickly, often too quickly in my experience, the conversation turns to preference. Should it go here or there or have this or that. Preference is a wonderful thing in the free market do no misunderstand me. What I am saying is that a group of people talking about their preferences in a room will go on and on and there will be no progress on the park. Someone in the group must do the work to frame up a plan and present it. Make a value proposition to the group. This is how to speak business. Bill stands up and says “I should like to propose the following plan: I will research and identify grants, Susie will then write the executive summary for our grant application, which Sam will then use to get letters of intent to match dollars at a 1:4 ratio from these or those organizations and Mary will put the application together and come back to the lot of us to answer the grantor’s questions until it is through.” Then Bill says the magic words, “who is in?”. And what results is progress. If the group is in. They act in coordination. If the group is not in, they will have identified one way not to create a light bulb as it were. At this step, no matter if Bill’s proposition is the best, hopefully the group will realize the sacred nature of the proposition that Bill has made. The sacred language of business. Proposal. Acceptance, denial or counter offer. Now the group has a place from which to start. A spark in coming to a proposition that a team can commit to, hold eachother accountable to, and focus on the results thereof.

This has gone on too long. Here is a sound byte from the interview that was shared with the members of The National Society of Leadership and Success. I have permission to share a short snippet of it, for the full interview one need be a member.

 

 -A takeaway from an internrocket.com press interview

 As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

A Journal Entry: When to Talk

let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
-Saint James

When to talk and when to listen

I have come to keep a journal. Reflections on the day and so on. This morning in my time set aside to blog, thoughts of reflection on a topic that has gone unanswered too long and an idea of resolution consumed me to journal instead. So this week I will share this entry. Names removed, adding in verses for and some of my thoughts that did not make their way to the entry for context, etc:

5.2.15

In the past I have not been sure as to the volume of my speech. In business settings, in the past I have felt like I, in general, have ideas I think will help. So I have always erred the side of sharing them. That said, I have been mindful of God’s word that encourages us not to speak hastefully and in great volume. It has been a point of uncertainty for me. The balance of volume my speech. Should I talk or should I remain silent? Is this a point of pride? That everyone must hear my idea because my idea is so good? Yesterday I had breakfast with one of my mentors. My struggle on the matter came up as we talked about James 1:18-20:

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

I have come to believe this to mean that if we are going to be God’s firstfruits amongst His creatures, if we are going to serve and love our fellow; the formula to make that possible is to be swift to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath. We need to listen to be positioned to love others well. It does not say “do not speak” it says to “be slow to speak.” This I think helps us focus on listening. The opposite thinking about what we are going to say and waiting for the first opportunity to speak, I do not think is slow to speak but rather quick for we have already spoke to ourselves and are just waiting to privy others our thoughts. The question I asked him was how does this work with the gift of speaking and teaching and sharing understanding. He looked at me and smiled. He gave no answer. No word left his tongue. Interesting. Perhaps now I think he may have been teaching me a lesson after all. After breakfast he and I went to visit an old friend of my fathers that was in town from the city on a case, he is a God fearing lawyer, his father was too. I asked him this same question after talking about James 1:19. He said that it was a tough question that he had no answer. He did however afford me a piece of advice his father gave him. ‘It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.’ That is, as I took it, when in doubt remain silent. Still my dilemma remains for my confidence soars in conversation that a particular idea should be shared for the service of those there. Not to my glory of course, that I rescue them with my idea or some nonsense, but instead, should what is shared help; glory be to our God who makes all things known, the Creator of all ideas. I was mowing the lawn last afternoon, preparing our home for a dinner with the families of two business partners where we planned to discuss how to help another in a new venture. As I was mowing the lawn reflecting on the day, I came to this bit of advice that my fathers friend passed to me from his father. ‘When in doubt remain in silence.’ Then a thought flashed in to my mind. 1 Peter 4:10-11:

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

In my estimation, if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow, then speak as it is your duty. This, I think, is when the doubt is removed; that point of balance I had been searching for. When to talk. My father’s friend said something else that I think answers the ‘if’ of the qualifying question above. That is; discerning if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow. I am doing my best to recall and paraphrase his comments, ‘I thrive in hardship.’ He said, ‘It is good for me. To be humbled and know I rely on God. I have no humble bone in my body. God brings me to my knees.’ This sort of revelation has been reoccurring to me as of late years. My complete reliance on God. On God’s Spirit to show me what to do. I think now, God willing, my dilemma in speech will draw me closer to God. Practicing the presence of God. God give me discernment and faith with wisdom, understanding, knowledge. I need Your help God. I depend on You moment by moment. Draw me near You God and draw near me. Show me what to do.

A quick programming note: I want to clarify something that was clear in my mind when writing in my journal but could be taken for granted here. And when I say clear in my mind I do not mean that I have figured this out, only that I have come to believe these things important. These things are things that if, should you believe you are to speak, I do not think should give way to manners and other proverbs addressing our speech. Things like talking in definitives or otherwise squaring off that you are in the right, interrupting and other forms inserting yourself when another is speaking, or dominating a conversation as to not let another contribute. 

 

-A journal entry on speech

  As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

The Two Things

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader success is all about growing others.
-Jack Welch

 jesus-washing-apostles-feet-39588-wallpaper 2

I was asked in an interview “since setting out in business, what lessons [I’ve] learned in leadership?” I shared what I call the two things. They are simple. Simple to understand. Simple to remember. Simple to see why these two things are it. Still they are not so simple to enact without fail. They take sacrifice. Sacrifice at a fundamental level. They take us out of ourselves. Away from us. Less self and more others. A good friend of mine taught me what leaders do. Leaders do two things:

  1. Leaders lead by example
  2. Leaders serve those they lead

Search your experiences and you will hopefully find a leader in your life who does these two things well. One thing to mention here is that anyone can lead. Power is not needed to lead. Authority is not needed to lead. Though power and authority will accrete to those who follow these two things.

Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. – Chinese Proverb

The point duck in formation serves by example. Those that follow benefit from drift. Do you want to be a leader? Are you doing these two things?

 

 -A takeaway from an internrocket.com press interview

 As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Power Under Control

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
-Matthew 5:5

meek power under control

I was recently approached by the National Society of Leadership and Success to do an interview. The interview would later be sent to their over half million members across the country. It was quite an honor to be asked for advice on leadership and success. Praise God! During the interview I was asked for advice on leadership, collaboration, and passion. And at the end of the interview I was asked if I had any last, one piece of advice for the leaders of tomorrow. I talked about Matthew 5:5:

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

Members in this society get advice from leaders such as Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard; Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City. Speaking amongst leaders with such depth of experience, it was my estimation that the only way I could pass muster was to turn to the Bible. This was my closing one piece of advice to the leaders of tomorrow:

As members of this society, you all are getting more powerful all the time. You are learning and applying advice from some of the most successful leaders in world. The only thing left to do is stay under control. If you stay under control you will get it all. That is my version of Matthew 5:5; blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Meek is a word that is often misunderstood. Meek is power under control. The word picture to think about here is a snorting war horse, but with a bit in its mouth. Extremely powerful and under control. Unbridled power will not end well. Stay under control and you will get it all.

In closing, let us think about this word picture a bit more and where it comes from. First its origin. Our english meek is the closest we have to the original in the greek. Praus, in Greek was used to describe a war horse that had learned to obey immediately and absolutely, amidst the great chaos of battle.

A snorting stallion prepped for war. Imagine with me one state: trampling underfoot. Charging and crushing the enemy. Another state: trotting right past another friendly. Imagine seeing the war horse pass before battle on friendly lines. Being close enough to reach out and touch it. Feeling the earth tremble under the force of its hooves. The respect given the animal. One would understand the power of the beast. Thank God for the bit controlling it moment by moment. For unbridled it would wreck havoc. At a moments notice the order can change and the stallion obeys. God be our bit, let Your spirit lead us and show us what to do. May we listen, hear and obey.

 -A takeaway from an internrocket.com press interview

-A takeaway from a study in Matthew 5:5

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

God willing

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
-King Solomon

God willing

James is a most useful book for Christians who want to learn how to act. In it James writes to newly Jewish-Christians and explains just that; as followers of Christ, how are we to live. There are many practical things in this letter. As a business person here is one that I have come to believe is important to practice.

In business there are plans. Plans to do this and to do that. When we speak about the future as Christians I think we need to understand the power of our words. As a quick side note please consider reading James chapter 3 for a better understanding on how our words can change the course of our whole life. Back to it then. In business we are called to speak of the future, to lead a team to a better place in time. James shows us how we are to do this in James 4:13-15:

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

It is my estimation, that as Christians we are called to uphold God’s reputation. Here James also tells us not to boast in the future but humble ourselves and to submit it to God. Admit that it is subject to God’s will. This I have come to believe is a way to uphold God’s reputation. Here is an example of what I am trying at:

Whenever we talk about the future may we honor God. Let this remind ourselves that God is in control. Let this proclaim our belief that our future rest in God’s hands that others would know that we belong to God. The Creator of all.

 

-A takeaway from a study in James 4:13-15

-A takeaway from a study in Proverbs 27:1

-A takeaway from a study in Jeremiah 9:24

-A takeaway from a study in 2 Corinthians 10:17

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Praise God

As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.
-Proverbs 27:21

Tested by fire

A fining pot for silver. A crucible or melting pot to refine silver. To make it pure. A furnace for gold. To burn away the impurities. Gold and silver are tested by fire. Their impurities raised to the top, separated by fire. Proverbs 27:21 tells us that man is also tested, but by praise. Interesting.

Praise God! This is go to saying for me. Deployed, God willing, when I am tested by praise. I have come to believe that I am here to glorify God and this is one way to do it. When someone says, “You are awesome, the way you did that thing was amazing.” I believe it best to say something of the sort, “Thank you, praise God!” I have noticed some people looking a little puzzled with this response from time to time. Some get a look on their face like to say “….anyways”. This of course is all part of it, being different. Having a way that others do not know or understand and sticking to it all the same. The way I mean here is that praise and glory belong to God not to me and any good attributed to me is for me to pass on to God. To uphold His reputation.

Try it out next time someone praises you; “Thanks, praise God!” or another option is to quote this truth:

But by the grace of God I am what I am: – 1 Corinthians 15:10a

I think you will enjoy it. After all, God is good and He is worthy of all praise, His faithful love endureth forever!

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. -Psalm 106:1

This brings me to another what I believe to be interesting idea, perhaps worth consideration. It rather starts off a question; what does that mean anyway, God is worthy of all praise? Throughout the bible we hear it. Praise God for He is worthy and so on. The other day I was talking with a rather well read, well learned economist about the unfortunate debasement of our currency and it came to me, how we worship it. How we worship money. And. How it can not stand it. I think it so because it is not worthy of our praise. It can not stand it, it falls, it fails admits the praise and worship. It is not up to the test. Interesting.

 

-A takeaway from a study in Proverbs

-A takeaway from an internrocket.com meeting

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.