Scale

Scale

I was listening to an interview of Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, on a podcast.  If you know anything about his story, you know why I am a big fan.  He was a serial entrepreneur that built and sold businesses out of a need he saw that wasn’t being filled.

After immersing himself in the culture of Argentina on a vacation and becoming familiar with the challenges facing villagers there, he decided to address one of the problems.  Foot borne diseases were having a profound effect and getting shoes on the feet of children was...

Foundation

Foundation

When we talk about core values and purpose, we are talking about the deep, powerful, and defining foundations of your business.  When talking to a client the other day, the thing that I compared them to was “the law and the prophets”…the thing upon which pretty much everything else rests.

While many of the companies I come into contact with have created both of those things, one employee at a company told me...

Restoration

Restoration

Stories about restoration may be my favorite thing.  Honoring great leadership is one of the others.  Emma Koehler’s story and the construction of Hotel Emma are about both.  

We all, at times, feel like we are powerless to succeed given the deck of cards that the market has dealt us or our industry.

You know that feeling, right?

And while there is a humility in not taking full credit for our success, it can be a tremendous stumbling block...

Mis-hire

Mis-hire

Are you hiring?  So, it seems, is everybody else.  Trouble finding the right fit for the position and culture seems like an epidemic.  And while there are some great tools that allow you to post your job opportunity in hundreds of places now, it almost feels like our needle is getting even smaller in an increasingly larger haystack!

And let’s be honest, we’re all doing our best to look away from the mounting pile of evidence of how much these mis-hires are costing us, but it's getting pretty hard to ignore.  And the pressure to get it right continues to increase.

Appreciation

Appreciation

Like many of our clients, the culture of our family is good, but I want it to be great.  And like many of our clients, we have been working hard on developing the kind of culture that will not only make life better, but encourage others to find the same.

Vacations are always disruptive to family rhythm.  While we regularly spend more time together as a family than what I hear others do, we aren’t spending all day, every day, together.  Vacation takes a bit of recalibration.  And as an intentional leader, I am always full of ideas and inspirations about how to push the envelope with them given that proximity.

Riparian

Riparian

While we were hiking along a stream in Colorado just outside of a city, we came across a sign.  It read:

COLORADO’S THIN GREEN LINE

Lands along rivers and streams are called riparian areas.  These green ribbons of life comprise less than 5% of Colorado’s total land area, yet 90% of Colorado’s wildlife species use it.

In other words, these are these thin ribbons of life that...

Clearing

Clearing

There is a mediocre movie called The Astronaut Farmer that has a fantastic trailer.  It is often part of the broad complement of media we employ at our LifePlan retreats.  The trailer does a great job of telling the story, but the few lines it pulls from the movie are extraordinary.

The movie is based on the true story of a man in Texas who builds a rocket with his eyes set on launching himself into space.  Everyone, of course, thinks he has lost his mind.  Government officials express their concern and mobilize the appropriate forces to keep him on the ground, but Jon Farmer is undaunted.

Iron

Iron

In the circles I run in, we often use the phrase “Aslan is on the move." That is an obvious allusion to the Chronicles of Narnia series where the lion, Aslan, is a clear God and Christ figure.  

Most people understand that expression, but one time when I was telling a guy about our house church and how “Alsan was on the move” there, he actually interpreted that Aslan was the name of our church.  Every time I saw him after that, he asked me how “Aslan” (meaning, our church) was doing.

Channels

Channels

When my bride goes out of town every summer to a YoungLives camp to “hold babies” for young teen mom’s attending camp, I host DadCamp.  It is way less structured or probably less fun than you might be imagining, but I do try to plan some fun things for us to do.

This year we went to a really nice drive-in movie theatre in New Braunfels, TX.  Three screens each offering a double feature, 365 days of the year.  Not as good an idea in the Summer due to the heat, long days, and really late starting time for a double feature, but pretty fun nonetheless

Creator

Creator
“(They) had never seen such a sun…You could imagine that it laughed for joy as it came up. And as its beams shot across the land the travelers could see for the first time what sort of place they were in. It was a valley through which a broad, swift river wound its way, flowing eastward towards the sun. Southward there were mountains, northward there were lower hills…The earth was of many colours: they were fresh, hot and vivid. They made you feel excited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else.”

- C.S. Lewis from The Magician’s Nephew

The kids from the Chronicles of Narnia are seeing something that most of us have only experienced in the opening pages of Genesis or on felt boards in old Sunday school classes.  They are witnessing Aslan (the Singer) creating the heavens and the earth.

Destined

Destined

“You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.”  

- Paul, to the church in Galatia

 

Let’s face it.  Television is a minefield.  We are constantly searching for appropriate things to watch with our children that might stir the right things and prompt relevant conversations.  This last weekend, we watched the first part of a four part series on Netflix called Daughter’s of Destiny.

 

Tent

Tent

There are places that feel holy because of their breathtaking beauty or their immensity.  But there are others that are holy because we define them that way, set them aside, and honor them as a place where we encounter God.  

In the Exodus, they tell about Moses and his “tent of meeting."

As a leader of his people, Moses was seeking time alone with God to receive his counsel and his direction.  He did it in a very formal and visible way.  Everyone knew why he was going into that tent and who he would be encountering there.  Because he was communing with God on behalf of his people, there was a power and authority to that time in the tent.

Journey

Journey

“Taking a trip for six months, you get in the rhythm of it. It feels like you can go on forever doing that. Climbing Everest is the ultimate and the opposite of that. Because you get these high-powered plastic surgeons and CEOs, and you know, they pay $80,000 and have Sherpas put the ladders in place and 8,000 feet of fixed ropes and you get to the camp and you don’t even have to lay out your sleeping bag. It’s already laid out with a chocolate mint on the top. The whole purpose of planning something like Everest is to effect some sort of spiritual and physical gain and if you compromise the process, you’re an @$$#*!& when you start out and you’re an @$$#*!& when you get back.”

- Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

Yvon is a little crusty around the edges.  He never set out to successfully lead a huge corporation, but that is precisely what he is doing.  His unconventional path to building a large business has provided him with some very unique perspectives.  To be completely candid, I disagree with many of the things he says, but I think he nails it when it comes his thoughts on it being about the journey and not the destination.

Homer

Homer

In the movie Moneyball, Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A’s is trying to field a competitive baseball team for 2002.  The problem is that he has a payroll of less than $40M when other teams, like their nemesis the NY Yankees, have a team payroll of over $125M.  

That feels familiar, right?  

Ever felt like you were competing against others with a much bigger checkbook?  I can point to numerous examples throughout my business career, but the most visceral is probably competing against all those rich boys in college…but that’s a story for another time.

Time

Time

We're more than halfway past the beginning of the new year, when hope seemed to spring eternally.  When we looked at the year ahead, and it felt like we could accomplish almost anything.  But in the chaos of the tyranny of the urgent, even the best laid plans we made feel like distant memories.  Like sets of endless waves crashing on the beach over time, the day to day issues we face in our lives and enterprises, can really begin to wear us down.

Aspire

Aspire

Ok, so maybe we are half-hearted and are too easily pleased, but we come by it honestly.  Marketers are spending billions to get us to spend our thousands. Tyler Durden in “Fight Club” says:

“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy $#*! we don't need.”

Probably the greatest "aha" I have found in becoming a certified Storybrand guide is that the best marketers are trying to sell us an aspirational identity Watch an Old Spice, Apple, or even a Viagara advertisement and it is pretty unmistakable.  They are selling the idea that things (well, “us” really) can be different.

Illumination

Illumination

If you’ve spent any time in this blog or around me for that matter, you might have picked up on the fact that I really like movies.  Let me restate that:  I love the story of restoration (because it is our intellectual property as believers) and it is found in every great story.  The movie producers, directors, and screenwriters of our day, just happen to be the great storytellers of our time.

Hire

Hire

"Slow to hire.  Quick to fire."

Okay, I need a show of hands:

  • Who’s heard those two phrases together before?  
  • Who’s said those two phases before?
  • Who actually does that?

Yeah, that’s what I figured.  I know some folks who are quick to hire and quick to fire, but most of us are very quick to hire and seemingly unable to fire anyone.  Add the challenging ingredient of our Christian faith to that equation, and being slow to hire and quick to fire becomes really, really difficult.  It doesn’t change the fact, however, that it is really, really good advice.

Water

Water

I live in deep south Texas.  It’s pretty dry here.  When we talk about water, it is typically about scarcity, restrictions, and about how that finite and essential asset will one day disappear.  

Whenever Jesus talks about water, he seems to talk about it completely differently.  He uses words like…