Jun 192014
 
The confluence of social capital, servant & replicative leadership, and systems.

Social Capital.

Servant leadership ( upside down pyramid being the most apt visual )

Replicative leadership ( Level 4 )

Systems thinking ( a la, Senge, Kiyosaki, Gerber, Woodward, Brady, & others less well known. )

They do intersect, and confluence exists in a metaphorical “river” – this spark that connected them together for me came while reading a page in a remarkable book by H.W. Crocker III.

The author is summing up the Battle of Chancellorsville, talking about Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson and the aftermath of the tragedy which prematurely took the latter General’s life in a ‘friendly fire’ incident on the battlefield.

The quote is powerful :

“People matter, individuals matter; no system, however well-oiled, and no leader, however omnicompetent, can afford to ignore the importance of personnel and having the right people in the right posts.”

So so true. Major league level truth in a matter of a short paragraph!

Mr. Crocker then quotes General Lee …

(speaking to one of the Army of Northern Virginia’s chaplains) “He [ Jackson ] has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right.”

To Lee, Jackson was far more than a subordinate officer. He was supremely trusted to handle the fires of war and the enormous task of leading a tired, under nourished, out-manned & gunned, and strongly individualistic group of men. Clearly, he was the right man in the right post; so to borrow a portion of the quote, “people matter, individuals matter …”

What came to be after this decisive Confederate victory quite likely would have been different if Stonewall Jackson, the “great and good” leader in his own right, had lived. Lee had replicated his impeccable leadership traits, skills, and courage in those within his inner circle – he was by definition, a mentor, a teacher, and a Level 4 leader. Yet, while the system in place within the South’s military was pulling victories from the jaws of defeat and causing President Lincoln much angst and soul searching, the system could not by itself replace Jackson. The personnel mattered too much, empowered as they were to take action and lead from the front.

Think about this. Live it out. Build strong social capital -those wide & deep relationships which are cultivated like that of the farmer in his field. Be the example. Live for those whom you serve. Align your personnel to their strengths, and build an iron clad inner circle. Yet, never lose sight of how valuable one person can be to the whole.

Jun 152014
 
(Father's Day edition) - 'Courageous' - 2014 Rascal's Guide to + Movies Series - Two

Just in time for Father’s Day …

… it’s my privilege to post a review, and a very strong recommendation, to watch the movie ‘Courageous‘.

Courageous is a terrific movie filled to the brim with truths in it’s moving, insightful, & heartfelt script. It will tug at your metaphysical heartstrings, and make you really reconsider if you are doing all you can as a man in serving your family.

It is very much the case that not all males are men; a man is created from the crucible of living for far more than a paycheck. He is molded by his culture/society, his local community, his friends, his pastor/spiritual leader, and his family unit. Some men run from their multi-pronged duties, some blame shift, some never mature … and then, there are some that fight back the ‘FLD’ (Five Laws of Decline), and serve their families with honour, with courage, with character, and with a determination to never quit on them.

This latter group is what we see emerge as the movie eventually reaches its plateaus of raw emotion & decision point(s). Without spoilers, the four lead characters each have to come face to face with situations which test their faith (or lack thereof), and put them square in the middle of a moral battlefield. Will each of them make the right decision(s)? Will they buckle under pressure? Will they put the lure of lesser things ahead of the greatness and glory of God?

This movie earns an A+ from this reviewer for multiple reasons – it rings like a tuning fork in the quiet room, for starters. It also is very real; we know these characters don’t exist in real life, yet you can surely see them in the faces & voices of your neighbors. Additionally, the movie doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult issues that may be considered “off limits” by those who don’t understand that one should have thick skin & a soft heart, rather than the reverse.

Who would’ve thought that an independent studio could cobble together the funds to put out such a quality film, one may ask? These folks in Georgia did. This movie doesn’t cut corners and it shows in the high level of acting skill, scenery, and quality of script-writing.

As we celebrate Father’s Day in our land, this is the best way I could show support for all the men in my life who are fathers (and for those who read this blog whom I don’t know!): put up a review of a movie which is a must-see (and must own) to sharpen their saw ( Habit 7 ) and use this movie as a sterling example of what a father should be.

All best!

Mar 282014
 
Praise - human relations skill box - Praise

Praise is powerful food for the human soul.

Why don’t we capture the vibrancy of this truth in our dealings with others far more often?

Consider these words from Mr. Charles Fillmore:

Words of praise, gratitude, or thanksgiving expand, set free, and in every way radiate energy … You can praise a weak body into strength, a fearful heart into peace and trust; shattered nerves into poise and power; a failing business into prosperity and success; want and insufficiency into support and support.

Wow. Tell me that doesn’t hit home with you!  Then again, perhaps it doesn’t … yet. Why could that be?  Our common culture disconnects our heart and soul from our mind and actions, let alone dampens our spirit and desire to be more than average.

Fillmore went on to say:

The whole of creation responds to praise and is glad. Animal trainers pet and reward their charges with delicacies for acts of obedience; children glow with joy and gladness when they are praised. Even vegetation grows better for those who love it.

Two books that stand out on this theme that I highly recommend reading and applying their truth nuggets are here and here.

Make it a great day, evening, or week, wherever you happen to be reading this post. Thank you for investing time in doing so & God Bless.

Mar 092014
 
Teaching & Learning

It’s a true joy to be able to pay forward information which has/had a profound impact on my thinking out here in the blogosphere – this post is no exception!

Just recently, I listened to an educational leadership audio which taught that there are several core ‘laws’ of learning. These go beyond mere techniques; they strike me, as someone who is not in the formal schooling profession/industry, as going far beyond what one would glean from curriculum or lessons.

Below, I share transcribed notes from the audio:

Law No. 1

A great teacher takes ultimate responsibility for teaching.

– He/she accepts the duty to create hunger in the students. This is akin to the old metaphor re: leading a horse to water, and not being able to make him drink; yet, you can add salt tablets to the water to encourage him.

Law No. 2

Teachers always accept the best.

– You must inspect in order to expect results.

– Believe in everyone’s potential.

– Check on performance, ask lots of key questions, and apply the PDCA process.

Law No. 3

Everything you do must be applied ( Law of Application )

– ‘To know, and not to do, is not totally something known.’

Law No. 4

Leading students/mentees to the irreducible minimum in order to comprehend & apply. ( Law of Retention )

– Create analogies

– Sketch word pictures

– Frame the information in a story format, or add dramatic elements

This leads to a simple, and highly recollect-able framework.

Law No. 5

Need is the starting point. ( law of Need )

– People often don’t look for an answer / solution until they have ID’ed a problem or at least asked some Q’s.

– We often need a “hole”, however, we don’t necessarily want the “drill”. Yet, a drill is usually needed in order to create the hole in the wall. 🙂

– History is a catalog of past courageous events; knowing this, and that there are thousands of years of recorded history, why not borrow experiences from those who have already lived?

Law No. 6

Equipping. ( Law of )

– Train leaders for service that betters the world.

– The results are long term, esp. when the process is solid.

– “If you want a perfect product, perfect the process.” = constant intentional excellence.

Law No. 7

Restoration + Revival ( Law of )

– Always seek truths as the basis of your teaching. Be hungry for better information to share.

– Honeability is the key for being able to respond to truth.

– To then live by the truths, being honorable is imperative.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Terrific insight, was it not?  As always , comments are most welcome. Huge appreciation to Mr. (Orrin) Woodward for his inspired review of the material which ties back to Mr. Howard Hendricks & Mr. Bruce Wilkinson. Best to all!

Dec 012013
 

Recently, I had the blessing to listen to an audio recording which was really eye opening – rest assured that I’d not have had the opportunity to learn at this level without having made the decision to become better in all areas of life.

The crux of the recording = get your thinking right first; it is an inside-out battle, as better thoughts flow outward to the outside once you conquer limiting beliefs, cynicism, negativity, doubt, fears of man, and excusitis on the inside.

Here are the five laws that were spotlighted, culled from my notes & some personal reflection after hearing the talk numerous times over the past month.

One: Law of ‘Cause & Effect’

The most fundamental of the five; in fact, without it, is a foundation of Western Civilization as we know it today, and as it was birthed back in antiquity during the ascendency of the Greeks. The world is guided by law, and not by chance, as Aristotle taught to his students.

Choices we’ve made in the past ( cause ) are definitely impacting our present ( effect ). We most certainly reap what we have sowed.

Study the works of Viktor Frankl & Seligman, the latter of the ‘explanatory style‘, to better grasp this law at a far deeper level.

Two: Law of Belief

A person most always acts consistently with his/her beliefs.

It doesn’t work if one changes their actions or habits without first changing the beliefs that frame their thinking.

Belief, let alone faith, is very powerful – one of the all time best books to read is ‘The Magic of Thinking Big‘.

Three: Law of Expectations

Dr. Robert Rosenthal’s ‘Pygmalion in the Classroom‘ illustrates this law to a ‘T’.

What you get in life is what you expect. This law and the preceding law work hand in hand. Build your belief first, and your expectations can and will be molded to be far more useful as you proceed on your success journey.

A simple illustration ( can find numerous graphics via a basic web search ) is to have dreams and a sweeping vision that tower above your obstacles and present reality. If you can frame your expectations for the future in the right thinking context, you’ll be further down the road than the majority of people you encounter.

Four: Law of Attraction

Simply stated, ‘You attract what you are.’

If you’ve already changed your thinking, mindset, beliefs, and expectations, it’s almost a given that you’ll be attracting different people to you.

John C. Maxwell, in his magnum opus, ‘The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership‘, focused on this through what he called the “Law of Magnetism”.

Five: Law of Correspondence

Your outer self corresponds to your innermost self; who you are externally, facing the world, is a direct correlation to what you are internally.

This can be your greatest responsibility and assignment; how will you become a better ‘you’ ? Re-review the above four laws: notice how they all are inter-related?

In the end, you want to become the mental equivalent of what you want to be on the outside. Change your inputs ( information is everything ), focus on having a better mindset and mode of thinking, and you’ll see the results flow downstream.

Continue reading »

Nov 182013
 
Knowing your 'Why' = mission = legacy

Why

Missions

Legacy

 

Connecting the dots between such important topics is the hallmark and core of synergistic thinking. Covey spoke about this in the early ’90s via Habit 6, and there are other authors, thinkers, and speakers who also clearly understand the value of this kind of approach to analysis. Names which come to mind: Buckminster Fuller, Peter Senge, Oliver DeMille, & Stephen Palmer.

Additionally, being in the midst of a new ‘great conversation’ adds even more impetus; it’s challenging to resolve deep seated problems while approaching them in ‘silos’.

Being about halfway into the fantastic book, ‘Start With Why‘ , and having heard an audio track of a talk by Mr. DeMille re: uncovering one’s inner genius through the tools (technology) of defining mission(s), led me to better frame the capstone resolution 13 from a world class book which I read in late 2011, ‘Resolved’.  This resolution simply calls for the reader to focus on leaving a legacy.

In a previous post, I delved further into a review of that particular talk by Mr. DeMille; this post ties it together with Mr. Sinek & Mr. Woodwards’ books. Notice how all of these overlap?  Ah, it’s that synergy word!

I challenge the reader and those who blog (if you happen to be both of these, even better!), to think about missions, what his/her ‘why’ truly is, and how defining a legacy, regardless of one’s age, is so very important. Traditional, conventional wisdom encourages day to day, week to week, and at best, quarterly thinking. Reframing this way, will expand the mindset and move you out of your familiar zone

‘What’ you’re doing, and ‘how’ you’re doing it both remain important, however, the ‘why’ makes all the difference.

Knowing what legacy you plan to leave to your friends, family, local community, church/charity, & nation will serve as a major anchor to connect your bow line to, as you move towards realizing your vision and fulfilling your life’s purpose.

Lastly, having a mission(s) gives one something to chase well behind mere money. Passion should precede income at all times. And, there are so many fundamental challenges being discussed in the ‘great conversation’ which can be framed by defining a foundational mission and putting a solutions mindset to work.

It’s been said that leadership is the highest paying profession. All of these are inputs into true leadership – will you rise to the challenge?

Nov 042013
 
Why aren't you doing (or have quit doing) something worthy? ...

… There’s a strong likelihood that the reasons are deeply seated, below the surface of your life, and in need of being brought out so you can dedicate your days to something that will leave a mark in our dark world. Being a candle in such a world isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever embark on doing, however, it will have the most worth — by far.  ( I am living testament to this truth. )

From a fantastic audio recorded from a talk that I had the utmost pleasure to hear and experience in person,  below I’ve recapped the Top 10 reasons ##.  The reasons are fully from the speaker’s vast experiences in working with people for years upon years; the commentary below them is mostly my own, tying to my own ongoing journey taking the road less traveled.

**

10 > Pride

Prideful-ness is a major contributor to many negative traits and decisions. Often, it is connected to crowd-satisfying peer pressure, or negativity of some type. Study ways in which you can learn how to remove pride from your life to the greatest extent.

9 > Besetting sin(s)

In most anyone’s closet, there are skeletons from the past. After all, man is not by nature “good”, he (she) is a fallen sinner. We all have done, or perhaps are still doing, things which are sinful. Many quit something of value to avoid conflict, or to avoid having to confront thing(s) which are unpleasant.

8 > Lack of character

Resolution 2 from the highly regarded book, ‘Resolved’ includes an equation:  Integrity x courage = character. Do you know someone who quit before the finish line?  Perhaps he/she simply lacked the former, integrity itself. Or, on the other hand, maybe there was a shortage of courage at the root. Either way, character counts, as Os Guinness taught us in his short, and profound book of that name.

7 > Distractions

Broken focus. Ah, what was that you said again?!.  Yes, your focus was just broken. Maybe it was the lure of “lesser things” ( good > great , reversing the order ); or, was it a lack of sorting out your priorities from your urgencies and obligations?  Regardless: Distractions hurt the pursuit of the worth (-y).

6 > Comfort.

Odysseus fell prey to a siren song, did he not?  Have far too many modern day Americans, let alone most of the ‘First World’ citizens done the same as this well known Greek legend? Yes, I say — the verdict is in. Entitlements?  You’re entitled to very very little, except which is transmuted to you via natural laws. Comfort comes in many forms – if you want to join the 2-20% of society that is far ahead of the rest, avoid it! Have lots of fun, and restore yourself — self-care, so to speak, but don’t get comfortable!

5 > Dream is too small

The cure for this at the very root?  Three fantastic books:  ‘The Magic of Thinking Big”, “The Dream Giver”, & “Visioneering”.

You have to dream. And dream often & consistently. Please, though, do not confuse this with fantasy, or wishes, or the ‘SFN’ (Something for Nothing) club. Dreaming is a discipline, a requirement to be successful, and very invigorating to the soul, spirit, and mind. Be sure yours are B-I-G. !

4 > Relational challenges

We all have them, or had them, including me. It’s part of life in many ways – people are … people! And, since the 80-98% don’t study, learn, and practice human relations/people skills as a matter of due course, chances are, they have these challenges more often. To fix this instead of quitting something valuable to your legacy, study conflict resolution first. Best books in this area?  “Courage” & “The Anatomy of Peace”

3 > Personal responsibility

You’re the project. Simple as that. You cannot change others, and never, ever should you blame another person, let alone something inanimate, such as a golf club, for what you alone control. Personal responsibility is a brother to personal growth/change; it is the antithesis to dependence. Jump over independence, and move into the interdependent level of action & thinking to really learn how to get better on this point.

2 > Selfdoubt / low belief

Belief, and its companion faith, are imperative in everyone’s life. Quitting, being the opposite of success, easily can tie into missing the ‘belief’ coin. Let alone letting self-doubt, or being in a valley reflect your day to day living. Doubt is cured by plugging into better information — stopping listening to yourself — and, finding better association. One’s ‘tribe’, community, or platoon/foxhole should be shared with only those who are going to edify, uplift, encourage, and coach/mentor you to greater things. Get your hands on the new in 2013 book, “Confidence of a Champion” as a key add-on. It is stellar!

1 > Lack of mental toughness

A leader armours him/herself – tough skin required. Toughness is an ingredient in large quantities. The best read to counter-act this reason for joining the ‘quitter’s contingent’?  “Toughen Up!” — Mr. Hamilton pushes all the right buttons in this 2013 tome. In a world of correctors, cynics, discouragers, and unhealthy skeptics – many of whom do not read, or grow themselves in any other discerning way, adding layers of toughness, while keeping a soft heart, is the right way to prevent quitting due to this reason.

**

My hope is that this list & the books/tidbits tied to them, added a large measure of value. As always, comments & shares are deeply appreciated & welcomed. Gratitude in abundance is how I live.

**

## – that talk was from Mr. Chris Brady. You’ll find his blog in my blogroll, and numerous books that he authored, or co-authored, reviewed and recommended on my second (Tumblr) blog, also linked in the corner of the main splash page.  All the best to him & his family at all times, as his example is one that I wish to emulate as a lifelong self-directed student.

Oct 122013
 
Infographic - Productivity

Studying this infographic on productivity was very valuable to me & I trust that it’ll add value to your day. One place to start, at the first ‘gate’ to managing your time:  Never say “I don’t have time”, and also cut back (or refrain entirely) from saying “I’m busy”.

Both of these tend to become rationalizations, complaints, whining, excuses, or even ‘rational lies’.

When you understand, at the root, that you have the exact same twenty-four hour day as the men & women of the past who did the greatest things – such as Washington, Jefferson, Montesquieu, Jesus Christ, Roger Bannister, Sam Walton, or any other of the innumerable folks whose names are burned into monuments, commendations, and other memorable means — you will then be able to reframe your day into one that is all about your priorities, and not urgencies nor obligations.

May your day be the best it can be. Thank you for stopping by & as always, comments and shares are deeply appreciated & welcome.

Sep 162013
 
Trail riders

Educate the ignorant.

Spread prosperity.

Heal families.

Promote freedom.

What do these have in common?  They are all defined missions. And, I’ve been blessed to have begun to build the rest of my years around each of them – additionally, they are purpose driven ways to lead and live a significant life.

A ‘trail rider’ can be defined as one who may sometimes have to follow, as Frost taught us, the ‘road less traveled’. He (she) may have to invest time and sacrifice some events in the here and now for far greater reward later.  Another definition is that of a leader who is willing to serve, and serve, and serve …. and to help with shifting the dialogue from that of a problems to a solutions based mindset.

Yet, with the state of Western civilization, North America, and the U.S. itself in decline, there’s no doubt whatsoever that more trail riders are very much in demand so the supply will increase to meet the deep challenges that face us. It won’t be the politicians of either the red, blue, or any other color/shade that will meet these head on: it will be the regular citizenry that joins the ranks of the trail riders.

How can someone make this crucial decision and have it not be a ‘try’?  There are some hurdles to jump over, however, with the stakes as high as they are, these are worth far more than their weight in gold when weighed on a scale against the alternative. What is the alternative? A nation, let alone a continent, or numerous countries across the globe, that is/are far less free, or entirely un-free. [ * By the by,  this entire post is inspired from a live talk (and a subsequent audio recording of it) by freedom, Constitution, and leadership education expert, Oliver DeMille. ]

The hurdles – what are they?  Each of them simply require a shift of priorities. Everyone has plenty of time to focus on these, however, it will be a far smaller percentage who do each. Let’s review them on a high level, and at some point in the future, there’ll be a new blog post or two to revisit this critical topic.

First / 1st /  A

Spread Entrepreneurship

THE most important.

Mr. DeMille has studied historical cycles going all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, and in the peak civilizations from early antiquity to the present information/connected age, many citizens were owners; they were building assets, and did not depend on a third party for their livelihood.

And, think about it: Why depend on a single stream of revenue (income) in such a turbulent time as the present?

Second / 2nd / B

Read like the American Founders

Also very very important.

The Founders were highly educated ( not trained, not schooled; educated. ) — they were far from perfect men, and their signature document, The Constitution, had about 3-4 loopholes, however, one thing that cannot be disputed by even their most vocarious critics? How much they read. They were well studied in the great conversation:  ideas in all genres, from history, economics, science, faith/The Bible, literature, and far more.

is 2013 a far different era than 1764-1789?  Of course. However, listen to Mr. DeMille’s amazing recording ‘The Four Lost American Ideals” to put the rest that citizens from today can ( and will ) make the difference.

Third / 3rd / C

Know the fine print – from laws, bills/legislation, court cases, budgets, treaties.

Very valuable — lest you ‘outsource’ your gov’t to faux experts who do this for you, and NOT in your best interests.

The founding generations treated their youth far different – they held them to high standards which created succeeding generations that were prepared for citizen leadership from a very early age. In the book, ‘LeaderShift’, page 110, read of Samuel Williams from 1794, and compare it to the stories in the mass media and culture of 2013.  What a difference, and not for the better.

Also, keep in mind that budgets are not just for ‘green eyeshaders’ – they are moral documents, since the currency we spend on our government’s every agency/dept/program should reflect what we, the people, deem to be valuable. If we let those aforementioned ‘faux’ experts determine what’s right, what’s valuable, et al., are we not abdicating our solemn responsibility as a citizen?

Mr. DeMille summed up his walk throughout history by documenting which of the above 3 fall first, as freedom retreats from a society, and the number of trail riders doesn’t grow.  Which one?  Fine print. Then, being a voracious reader, then lastly, entrepreneurship and the values & principles that go along with it.

We can’t let that happen. Putting service before self can be summed up in many different ways, one of which is to promote freedom; another is to educate the ignorant on topics like this ( think: were you taught this in any of your years of schooling? ); still another is to heal families by offering them the education and the tools of financial fitness which show them that having multiple streams of income, esp. those from owning something, can regenerate family life. And, each of the above will lead to sustained prosperity when each organically grow and encompass more households.

Will you accept this challenge?

I have. It’s been one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made & I look forward to helping write the story of how this ends with the pen in my hand. Freedom needs trail riders, just as fish need water. Thank you for reading, and as always, comments are welcomed.  Best of the best!

Aug 242013
 
Mentorship - Heroes past & present

This terrific anecdote was part of a chapter in a book that I’m reading with tremendous interest and passion —  the topic is Mentorship & how much it truly matters.

Here it is —

‘The most unlikely of nobodies comes from a small town in the middle of nowhere. Strange circumstances take him from his home and throw him into some conflict that has the future of the world hanging in the balance. Somehow, it is up to him to save us all.’

‘He meets many friends along his path, and they each have something special to teach him about himself, life, or the world. In the end, when the conflict comes to its peak, he finds that he is uniquely qualified ( because of who he is, where he comes from, and what he’s been through ) to come up with a crazy solution that will make everything right in the universe. So, with God’s help, he does.’

” … hero stories … have been among the most influential movers of society.”

Have you been a hero in someone’s narrative?

Can you cite a hero-mentor from one of the books you’ve recently read who impacted you through his/her words, long since written down, with him/her long since gone?

There is so much knowledge in our world that lies fallow in an open field, or buried under rocks, or perhaps a level or two below the waves on the surface of the water. Go after it! Be a life student, then mentor the next generation and lead them to the same transformational lessons which shaped your life.

It is a honour and a privilege to be a mentor, and I plan to accelerate my game plan and mentor many more men & women, of all ages, in parallel as I grow myself personally.

Have a fantastic day!