Meaningful Living in the Hashtag Age

Posts tagged ‘leadership’

Hero in Me

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So many people are in need of a HERO. So many people are waiting on a SUPERMAN or WONDER WOMAN to descend from the sky and protect them from a struggling world.

But what if, there are no heroes coming to our rescue? What if, God provides us with the strength and courage to change the world, and WE were created to be the heroes of our own lives?

God blesses us with the power to come together and build a world comprised of integrity and goodwill. In these unpredictable times, it’s important that we stop waiting for our heroes to rescue us and start living like the responsibility is ours, and ours alone.

Ask yourself: Am I up for the task? Am I warrior-ready? Can I be a hero in my community? What will it take to change the world around me?

Learn to be your own HERO and watch your life soar.

#HeroInME #GrowingBOLD #FaithFUELED

 

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The Wait

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Have you ever played the game Red Light – Green Light? If not, here’s how it works: first, all the players stand side-by-side in a single line facing the person (let’s call him/her the ‘leader’) responsible for giving the ‘red light’ and ‘green light’ commands. When the leader, who is standing at least 15 feet in front of the players, gives the ‘green light’ command everyone must rapidly move towards them. But when the ‘red light’ command is given everyone must stop immediately, assess where they are, then wait until the leader gives the green light command again. The player who reaches the leader first wins the game.

As Christians we often find ourselves in a real-life Red Light – Green Light scenario. Standing side-by-side with people who we perceive to be in competition with us and vigorously working to reach what we assume to be the higher echelon of life.  The journey to reach our goal is filled with stop and go commands given by God that we cannot control or change. And the wait, as frustrating as it can be, is often a period of retrospect that allows us to assess where we are, re-think our strategies for reaching the goal-line and decide whether the journey is worth the wait.

When the green light is given, we are encouraged to run our fastest in order to leave our competition behind. Society teaches us that being first is a noble quest, even if it requires pushing and shoving to get ahead of others. But in Matthew 19:30, the Bible states, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” Earthly rank does not translate into heavenly rank. And although I believe that being first is not a sin, our focus must remain on God and His destiny for our life.

The most difficult times are the red light, or waiting, periods of life. Throughout the Bible we are taught that patience is a virtuous attribute and the power to wait on God is rewarded in the end. But the fear of never achieving our goals coupled with faulty thinking that God is not with us during our waiting period creates anxiety and uncertainty along the way. Whether we are waiting on an improved health report from the doctor, the healing of a drug addicted child or help with a struggling marriage, the red light periods of life are our most difficult.

In my darkest hours during my waiting periods, I often reflect on Psalm 30: 5: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. God often uses the transitioning from night to day as an example of how hard times will evolve from darkness to light.

God blesses the waiting period. He stands in the mist of the awkward silence that threatens to make us believe that He isn’t there, and He whispers hope into our ear. Often, we cannot hear Him because of our fears, but God is always in control. He doesn’t leave us in the coldest moments nor does He blow away in the highest winds. He is our rock and our fortress.

The waiting period is a time of triumph. It is during this period that we do our bravest work. We learn to stand still and to believe that daylight is just over the horizon and darkness is not eternal. When we wait – patiently – we learn how to run our fastest without trampling others and to appreciate the journey.

Gods timing is not our timing and His priorities are not our priorities. Therefore, when the green light is on, we must take what we learned during the red light periods and approach our journey with consideration and love if we are to reach the pinnacle of God’s expectation for our lives.

Psalms 27:13-14   I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Isaiah 40:31   but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Lamentations 3:25   The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Micah 7:7   But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

This original article was published in the July 2016 issue of The Mount Christian Magazine.

Michelle D. Jackson is author of The Heart of a Man, a Christian novel.

 

Contained, Stored or Leashed: How not to handle Innovation

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Have you ever watched an innovator convert an idea into a practical concept, mold that concept into a viable business model then employ an operational process that allows a new venture to spread its wings and soar? If not, you should, because the sheer curiosity and eagerness of a dedicated business leader is inspirational beyond words.

It takes commitment to start a business.

It takes boldness to put forth an innovative idea.

It takes heart to see it through to the very end.

For those of us privileged to work with business trailblazers, we’ve witnessed many new ideas take flight. But in order to help these pilots stay above the clouds, both public and private sectors must do more to avoid putting roadblocks in their path.

Innovation is the idea of thinking differently about how we do things. In many ways it is the key to building a better world. From the development of the polio vaccination to the creation of the Internet and beyond, when we inhibit innovation by not providing the resources needed to mature an innovator’s dynamic ideas, we are also hindering our own personal and professional growth.

Innovation should never be contained, stored or leashed. To grant it the freedom it needs to change the world, it must be unfettered then fueled. But the fueling becomes the problem.  In order to properly drive innovation public and private sectors must create pools of resources accessible to both thriving ventures and start-up companies.  In a perfect world, every program created in the name of entrepreneurship would offer hefty funding resources, mentorship and collaborative opportunities. But we live in the real world. With countless limits on capital resources for new businesses and political opposition to funding more research and development, roadblocks to innovation will continue to exist over time unless we act now.

So, how can we give innovation the freedom to thrive? Here are my three ideas to help public and private sectors broaden their view of the needs of entrepreneurs:

Money matters. You’ve heard it a million times: access to capital is key. Well, it is. No company succeeds without financial support.  Call it what you want – crazy, ill-conceived or unorthodox – but the process of creating new technology is a lot like throwing spaghetti at the wall. You sling it until it sticks and when it does, you peel it off, figure out what made it stick in the first place then do it all over again. But if every sling at the wall costs $50,000 or more, innovators may only get one chance at success. Therefore, the key is to ensure that all public and private entrepreneurial programs develop strategies that will provide multiple layers of funding for companies at each stage.  One shot just isn’t enough.

Failure isn’t final.  Public and private entrepreneurial programs should be designed with failure in mind. In a recent Forbes magazine article, “Why is Innovation so Hard?,” writer Edward D. Hess discusses a key factor in what hinders us from accepting failure. He writes: Our educational system and most work environments have taught us that good performance means avoiding failure, not making mistakes. This is a big problem, because failure is an unavoidable part of innovation experimentation.

Innovation requires the willingness to fail and learn. But failure comes at a cost that most investors don’t want to take on. Innovators with great ideas often fail at the early-stage because of a lack of financial support. Programs created to help them often offer assistance worth the value of one sling at the wall and nothing more. To change this, we must shift our psychological acceptance of failure and instill new ways of thinking into public and private program development.  Although failure may be final to most investors, to a serial entrepreneur it is often the beginning of a new onslaught of creative ideas and concepts that deserve a chance at success.

Supporting the best and disregarding the rest is no way to build a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem. The best of the best technologies can be found at the least attractive places. Great ideas can come from anywhere. From basements in an urban community to labs at junior colleges, entrepreneurial programs should throw out the status quo and start looking for great inventions in some of the most unlikely places. We must learn to support business growth at all levels and create new avenues for innovators to get the recognition they deserve regardless of their educational background, income level or geographical location.

Simple stuff, right? We will see….

Effective Management: What I’ve Learned So Far

Check out my latest blog post, Effective Management: What I’ve Learned So Far.

Effective Management: What I’ve Learned So Far

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The U.S. labor force has changed over the last 25 years.  Workers today have access to career opportunities that didn’t exist just ten years ago.  Technology has equipped organizations with resources to help improve productivity and streamline processes in short order.  The internet alone has created platforms to help people find jobs, get trained and share professional experiences that are vital to assisting businesses in meeting their mission objectives.

After over 15 years working in management-level positions, I am well-aware that the road to economic globalization is being built on the backs of highly skilled workers therefore making everyone’s role in an organization essential to business growth. However, successful businesses still heavily rely on the expertise of their management staff. The old saying, “a company is only as good as its leaders,” is still true.  And in this day and age, when leaders are concerned about weak economic growth and down-sizing, there is a need to revisit, or revise, our game plan for creating productive work environments.

If I had to write a pocket-sized manual on preparing for management in the 21st century, here’s what it would say:

  • Good managers should never display passive-aggressive behavior. Employees with passive-aggressive behavior will often show non-verbal aggression that manifest in negative conduct. These are colleagues or co-workers who refuse to take responsibility for tasks, purposely miss deadlines and go over their boss’s head to make him or her appear incompetent. Good managers should never play a role in aiding passive-aggressive behavior and more importantly, managers should never display similar behavior when dealing with their employees. Here’s an example:  Your top producing employee comes into your office and ask for a pay increase without knowing that you were recently informed that due to budget constraints no one will receive bonuses or pay increases for the next 6 to 12 months. You are obviously frustrated to learn that you will not receive your much-needed Christmas bonus.  But during the meeting, instead of being honest about the situation, you become irritated, insulting and dismissive.  Although your actions fail to reflect your true feelings, the employee is left confused and angry. Effective managers must learn to be clear and honest about how they feel, particularly when the issue is important to the personal or professional livelihood of their staff. Don’t play emotional games with your staff and remember that you are setting the example for the entire team.
  • Learn to appreciate the Millennial’s new work ethic. They will check their Facebook and Twitter accounts a few times a day during work hours. They will bring iPhones to meetings and Google what they don’t understand (or what they think you don’t understand). They will challenge your ability to do your job and recommend what they consider are lean processes that will make your head spin. And many of them may not stick around long enough to redeem a 401(k) or pension plan.  But, on the bright side, Millennials will bring a level of creativity and technical savviness that can help you improve productivity. They will rightfully expect and aggressively fight for inclusiveness that will not only promote diversity in the workplace but will also allow you to learn from each employee’s unique personal and professional background. So, if you can overlook a few tattoos and piercings you will learn a lot from them and in return create a better work environment overall.  Trust me.
  • Never (ever) hesitate to make the BIG decisions. If your team thinks you’re weak, than you’re weak. Perception becomes reality. Being decisive as a leader shows that you are not afraid to make things happen and you have no fear of being accountable.
  • Stay focused on what matters most. This rule will never change. Get focused on the mission, stay sensitive to the needs of your team, make decisions, be accountable and get the job done. That’s what effective management is all about.

Dreamers Only

ManThis blog is for dreamers only. People with an expectation of life much broader than what others can comprehend. The sixty-five year old grandfather who wants to skydive and the twenty-three year old single mom who wants to be president. There are no impossibilities, there are only opportunities.

Living is about making dreams come true, exploring the universe in ways no one knew was possible and taking on the world and all its obstacles.

Working is about turning jobs into careers, organizational leadership and ambition. The focus will be on public sector management, entrepreneurship, social media management and building successful networks.

Inspiring is about faith, religion and spirituality in the 21st century.

1st Morning Thoughts will have contributing writers from all over the world and an insightful dialogue to help you navigate your day.

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