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As a small business owner, I have around twenty-five people that I employ. In business, the lower the turnover and the more independently your staff can perform with you the greater profits and freedom you have.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

My industry of quick serve means that many employees this is their first job. On top of this minimum wage employment is a high turnover industry. Within my restaurants turnover is minuscule compared to the sector average, and I have a few employees that have been with me for ten years.

I have acquired the skill and talent of turning low performers into some of my best workers. It is not easy and requires patience, but it has its rewards that make it worth the effort. There are a lot of diamonds in the rough that with the right heart attitude and training can become the most loyal and awesome employees.

A lot of employers make assumptions with low performers that employees don’t care or aren’t hard workers when the problem and solution look much different. I have found that as employers we think we are much better at communicating than we are. If you have an employee that is a struggle walk through these steps before firing them.

Baseline The first question that needs to get addressed is whether the “problem” employee has a head problem or a heart problem. If you are unsure, you can ask them. Employees will let you know if you have built a rapport. Here is the difference, are they missing the skill and knowledge to do the job or the motivation to do the job?  Do you need to train them or motivate them? Often managers and owners assume an awareness that is not there and the employee doesn’t even know they are nut cutting the mustard. Establish whether it is a head or heart problem and follow the three steps accordingly.

Head:

Winning. What does winning look like? You have taught the skills. However, have you been explicit about the expectations you have? We say a lot of things that aren’t specific such as hard work or clean? Don’t assume common sense and in detail describe what that means to you. Define priorities and how high the bar is set. Being on time, working fast, and independently are things that need to be stated. Make it measurable and measure it often so that there is no doubt if expectations are being met.

Why. The task itself is not enough. You need to explain the why behind the task. The why enables thinking. The why fends off going through the motions and missing the meaning behind the task. When I go into my local Subway, they say, “Welcome to Subway” every time. The problem is they are usually saying it in a monotone voice not giving eye contact. I feel so appreciated. The words have been taught, but the reason is missing. It is to make the customer feel welcomed. Eye contact and tone of voice is way more important than the words. Keep the why first in its proper place.

Growth. Opportunity for growth within the company and growth mentally is crucial to keeping your employees engaged mentally. As humans, we are either growing or shrinking. Make sure that your team members are learning personally and within your organization. Keep an environment of growth to help your employees to stay engaged and to expand their skill and talent.

Heart:

Their passion. What are the goals of their life and how can your company help them? Change the training as much as possible to their inner cry of their heart. One of my employees wants to be a missionary. Everything at the point of sale we teach her as it will help her in the mission field. Even food cost numbers can be shown as far as controlling finances for a small budget. Teach with the understanding of their passion to get the heart engaged.

Their skill. Put the people in the right places on the bus as Jim Collins states. You need to set up your employees into a position to win. They need to operate with their talent and skills. There is nothing worse than doing a job you are bad at. One that you never can thrive in.  If you don’t have a spot to let your employee work in their skill, you need to let them go. Skill is an area you should hire slow and fire fast.

Your heart. Your staff needs to know you care. Caring can be faked temporarily but in the long run it can’t. If you don’t care for people and their future, you will never be great at leading. If you do care, you need to show them. You need to reward them and encourage them to be the best version of yourself. In supporting them and caring for them, they will care for you. You will be more than just a boss but a leader and friend how they will come to long after they work for you.

Engage your employee’s mind and heart if you do your business will never be the same. It will be so much more than making money. Money is a byproduct of having rock star employees that care for your company almost as much as you do. Don’t put the pressure of caring on the same level as you. But do demand excellence. Teach your employees heart and mind and you and your business will be blessed on your journey.

How do you guide your employees into being great?

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I’m failing as a husband, father, business owner, and personally. Every area of my life on the outside looks pretty close to perfect but on the inside I suck. I don’t give my kids enough attention. My wife’s needs to connect emotionally are left unmet. I’m impatient, angry, and depressed. The accuser is always quick to point out all my failures. I never realized life would be this hard, it looks so easy for everyone else. I always thought I would be successful; I thought things would come easy for me.That success would fill empty places, I thought people that weren’t succeeding where just lazy. I was cocky, and life has smacked me back to reality. I expected  perfection from myself. My expectations for myself have not been close to how I have performed. I suck if all I listen to are the thoughts that roar inside my mind when I fail.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

Perfection myth. The imposter would like you to believe that perfection is attainable. That somehow one day we will try hard enough and fix enough about ourselves that we won’t fail. Those other people have it together, and you don’t. That somehow the genetic father and dad gene skipped over you and me. I’m falling short of perfection, and that’s ok. I’m failing because I fall short of the expectation for myself that have in my mind. The standard the Bible calls me toward. I’m failing because I’m not Superman. I fail and instead of a comforting voice telling me it’s ok the imposter inside of me laughs. That voice inside my head and yours probably too. That accusatory voice is whispering into our ears thoughts of unworthiness and it never stops. Juggling all our responsibilities and relationships, we are bound to drop things. When we let go of a ball is when the imposter starts in on us. Not acknowledging when we do things correctly our mind is our biggest critic. The imposter that says to close myself off from those I love. The imposter that says we should hide failure and pretend that we have it all together.

Hope. There’s hope, though. There’s hope if we refuse to quit! There’s hope because we will keep aiming to be a man of honor and integrity. If we want to be a man that fights for their family and loves them well. A husband and father that is Patient, Kind and understanding is the bar that we must set. We desire to be the business owner that is a sacrificial leader. If we want to be that man, we must never quit. There is hope if we keep trying and keep failing forward. We must refuse to give up. We must refuse to stop aiming high to the standard that the Bible points us toward. We must commit to ignore the imposter that wants to get us to stop trying. We must continue to aim at being the sacrificial man our family needs and deserves. There’s hope because we keep learning and growing. Hope because Jesus makes us whole not our performance.

Failing Forward. We must be comfortable with failure. We must come from a place of aiming high and realizing it is only God that gives us what we need to get there. We must acknowledge our imperfection. It is Jesus and His death and resurrection that complete us. He makes us Righteous but we will never be perfect until heaven. Perfection is a myth; surrender is what is required. Philippians 4:13 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” We will not reach the goal, but we must press on. We must press through. We must never give up.

So even though we say to ourselves we are unworthy and a failure. We can stand in TRUTH that we are made worthy through the shed blood of the lamb, not in goals reached or in less struggle. That to have it all we must surrender it all. 2 Corinthians 12: 9-11 says, “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” That if this is true it is never about us but always about Him. Be blessed on your journey as you trust Jesus and His shaping in your life.

Do you struggle with feeling like a failure after failure?

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As a family man running my business and caring for my family take precedent. Sometimes those two things have too much of my focus. For years, one thing I neglected was my health. In my late twenties, I had my marriage, two children, two restaurants, and ill health. I felt overwhelmed and had no clue what to do. All I knew for sure is that what I was doing wasn’t working. I went in to see the doctor because I wasn’t sleeping well and experiencing bouts of anxiety and depression. This real sense life is closing in on me and my inability to keep up.

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The doctor told me that I had high blood pressure and looked terrible. He asked if I was getting enough sleep and how my stress level was. I remember sitting there stating, “I have two kids under 4 and two restaurants. How do you think my stress level is?” The doctor gave me three to six months to get my blood pressure in line naturally, or he would recommend that I start taking medication to lower it.

Fast-forward to today and I have my marriage, three bundles of joy, two restaurants, and online presence. I still struggle with overwhelming anxiety at points, in fact as my father said I am usually bored or overwhelmed. He is right, and some of my health is habit, and some are nature. That said, my blood pressure is in the normal range, and I am getting ready to run my fourth marathon.  My health has gone from a concern to a benefit in my life. A change in health hasn’t been smooth but with a consistent effort, I feel better than I did as a teenager.

If you want your business to prosper in the long–run you need to make health a priority. These five healthy habits should be a part of your daily life.

Prayer. Prayer is a practice that automatically lowers blood pressure. Breathing slows and you relax when you connect with your heavenly Father. Start each day from this state of prayer and being alone with the creator of the universe. God has your back at all times and starting my day in this manner reminds me of that. When you pray you gain gratitude and peace. God provides all, and His thoughts are better than our own. Pray to have a healthy spiritual life which leads to a better physical life.

Eat. What you consume is what you output. My wife loves sugar and has to fight against eating too much of it I, however, love salt. Chips and salsa are my nemeses. Some tips are not to cut this out completely but to get your snack out of its packaging and stop when that portion is done. A big open bag of chips ends up getting consumed to quickly otherwise. Reduce salt and sugar intake and reduce or eliminate processed foods. Processed food is always high in sugar or salt. Be aware not obsessed with what you eat to live healthier.

Exercise. I started running, and that helped me in more ways than I could have imagined. You don’t need to run, but you do need to get up and get moving. Exercise will help you to have higher energy and greater confidence. My tip for exercise is to sign up for races. It could be a 5k or an ultra-marathon it doesn’t matter. Signing up for races causes you to get out and stay active. If you are self-conscious about races, trust me all shapes and sizes are running and walking these things. Get out and move to help your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Margin. Allowing space in your schedule will return peace to your life. I jam my schedule too full and rush around. I know that my margin is too packed when I shovel my food in my mouth and pace around all day. You and I aren’t accomplishing anymore by hurrying through life. It feels like we are accomplishing more but in reality, we are not making the best moves and me be having to do it again coming from this place of rush and hurry. Return margin to your life and remember you are less efficient when you rush.

Fun. Return fun to your life to help your health. It is amazing how we don’t take the time to enjoy our lives. Your life is precious and is not meant to be hurried and serious. At a Rend Collective concert, one of the band members said seriousness is not a fruit of the Spirit joy is. I love this! Stop with the frowning and start scheduling and planning fun. Your life is made to enjoy. Your worth is not tied to how much you do. Stop and have some fun to help your health.

If your health is poor start to pick up one or more of these habits and make a change today! Health like everything else requires focus and energy. Do not wait until some of the costs of an unhealthy life catches up with you. You can’t serve the ones you love, build a business, and help others to the best of your abilities when your health is poor. Focus and time will heal your body and change your life.

How do you maintain your health while building a company?

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Throughout my business career, there have been moments that I have felt my faith in Jesus has held me back. To be honest, I know that my faith has held me back from short-term wins. In the long-run at times, I have been slower on profitability and momentum. To do things God’s way can be a mystery and if we don’t watch it, we can blame God for not getting ahead.

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Picture by: KCNewman Photography

Often I look to blame others. My failures are easier to handle when they aren’t my fault. When I run out of other people to blame God gets the brunt of my anger and resentment. The foolish things that I can blame God for like, He owes me. God’s debt isn’t reality, God’s ways are above our own, and we will always be in His debt. His principles and promises may not make since at the moment but in the end, it always will. If you are struggling with wondering how your business and faith work together, there’s hope. These five principles are God’s design for your life and will cause your business to flourish!

John 15:12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Love. We are commanded to love others, and that commandment makes us better at business. Though is can sound fluffy the reality is we can come from two places, kindness or love. Kindness tells people what they want to hear, rescues, and muddies the water. Love puts others above comfortable. Love makes us straight shooters saying “no” when we need to. Love fires people when they aren’t a good fit so that they can find somewhere they are talented and fulfilled. Love is strong!

Galations 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Service. Service is another thing that the Bible calls us to. The greatest thing about this is that is what success in business is. Zig Ziglar says, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Now don’t get ahead of yourself like I do, and start to see what you can get. Just serve with no agenda. Serve your fellow man and eventually in the long-run it will benefit your business.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Hope. We named our youngest Hope because it has such a place in my wife and I’s heart. We thought we would not be able to have kids; now we have three little balls of energy. Hope is the precursor to faith. Hope is the foundation for action. Hope believes that it will all work out. Hope will lead to faith. Hope moves when all looks lost. Hope is the rallying cry that you need in business.

1 John 5:5 “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Faith. The precursor to action is faith. Faith that God will work it all out. Faith that He has a plan for your life and that if you stayed submitted to His will you will be on the right track no matter how it may seem. Faith that God is good and He is faithful. Faith makes you brave and bold in action. Faith when full makes you move with an intensity that is needed in business and in accomplishing any dream. Faith makes you a business person of action.

Isaiah 26:4 “Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.”

Lens of eternity. It is said that rich people have a twenty-year perspective. So how much more rich are we that view everything through the lens of eternal life. I am not talking about just money but in all ways. Eternity reminds me that I am simply a steward that is caring for what I can as long as I can. Life beyond the grave helps me to reframe success in that light. The lens of eternity makes me preserver when others quit causing me and you to be undeterred business owners.

In the end, you will have a choice. You will have to look with your eyes or with your spiritual eyes. God’s ways are above our own. When it looks like foolishness in the world’s eyes, I have made a commitment to follow Him to the end. I hope you will as well. If you live a life dedicated to Christ, He will make all things new, and give you a life full of adventure and excitement. Be blessed on your journey as you follow the Lord.

How does following Christs lead help you to be a better business person?

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Those personality tests are hurting your business and your life. Here is the thing I love all those tests and take a lot of them myself. Personality and strength finder tests can be an important tool to help you gain insight into your talents and abilities. Profile tests can help you target in on your areas of strengths and can lead you into doing tasks that can bring you a greater energy level. I know you’re thinking, “How can this be bad?” All of these things are obviously great, but there are many drawbacks to these same personality tests that you need to be aware of.

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Watch out for these four downsides to personality tests.

1 Corinthians 12:31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

Test addiction. If you have taken one test, you have taken many. I know I have taken so many tests I can’t count them all. The problem with this is that I have taken these tests like it is going to give some answer that will fix everything. That suddenly a lightbulb will go on that I was missing, and my life will hit a whole new level. The test becomes the answer instead of the tool they are designed to be. Stop taking tests and start taking action.

Don’t grow (not my gift). We grow in the uncomfortable, and new areas of life yet tests can get us to stay with the comfortable. It is great to know if you are an introvert or an extrovert for example but knowing I am an introvert has stopped me from doing many things that would advance my business. I don’t go to network events; I don’t door to door market because I am an introvert, and I use that as a crutch. Don’t allow your growth to be stunted by not stretching beyond your gifts. Know your gifts and take action whether it aligns or not.

Delegate tasks you shouldn’t. Many tests will show you what drains you and what fills you, and it can be a great coconut on the head to delegate many tasks that you find draining. The problem is that this has more grey area than I have liked to admit. Though you should delegate off much, you still need to do some tasks that are major keys to your business. Yes, do more of what fills you and less of what drains you, however, make sure in your delegation you still know how to do the job and you inspect what you expect.

Don’t show (not my gift). The other hindrance to these tests is we can get lazy and not develop a skill. When we know are gifting we can expect others to communicate and love us the way we communicate and love. The issue is that we are making communication and love about us. We don’t show and tell people the way they hear and receive the best but stick to our languages. To get the most out of personality tests use it to show you where you will fall short and how you can adapt to communicate better. For example, I want people to get to the point in communicating my wife wants detail. I know when I talk with her to give more detail than I naturally do. Recognize how others want things shown to them not how you want to do it.

At the end of most things, everything in moderation is the slogan we should have. Knowing yourself is great but don’t let that become your self-absorbed isolationist mentality. You and I need to learn, grow, and expand and make it about others. Service is what God calls us into. Businesses that succeed are ones that serve to a higher degree than the competition. When you take tests, you should ask yourself some questions to grow and become a better servant.

Four questions you should always ask:

Am I looking for my identity in this test?

How will this help me communicate better with others?

How does this test help me love others better?

Do I need to change or continue any action after this test?

Know your gifting but don’t let it be your identity. Tests are great especially if you have your staff and family take them. You can learn how they tick and learn how to communicate and love them well. Make the personality tests about serving others and you will be blessed on your journey.

How do personality profile tests help your business?

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Early on in my career as an entrepreneur, I was told that you can’t be a good father and an excellent businessman. I bought into the lie that I had to choose one or the other. That somehow they were mutually exclusive. What happened is someone who I knew and trusted forced their self-limiting beliefs on me. This level of thinking caused me to bounce back in forth between an extreme focus on my business and intense focus on my family. I would either be all in as a father and husband or all in as an entrepreneur. In my heart, I would feel like I was always robbing from one and giving my all in the other. Always failing, always feeling guilty. This level of thinking leads only to guilt and condemnation.

Can you be a good father and entrepreneur

If you are struggling in juggling the balance between fatherhood and entrepreneurship, follow these four guideposts

Prayer/stillness. When we already feel like we don’t have enough time for business or family are tendency can be to squeeze every second of the day into movement. The desire to be in constant motion is derived from feeling time moving means more ground gained. Movement equating to ground gained can be true, but I know in my life that I am inefficient with most of my day. The Pareto principle states that eighty percent of the output from a given situation or system is determined by twenty percent of the input. Pareto principle is true for my life, and I know that it is true for your life as well. The only way that you are going to figure out your twenty percent that you need to put your effort into is to have reflection and prayer. Pause to ask the creator of the universe what you should do. Pause and reflect on what has worked and even more importantly what didn’t so you can stop spending your time doing it. Prayer and stillness must be built into our lives daily to be the best husbands, fathers, and entrepreneurs that we are capable of being.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Priority. There is a great analogy that Dr Henry Cloud gives. He said if you fill a glass jar with large rocks then put smaller rocks in the jar, and they will fill in the gaps left by the bigger rocks. Then put sand in the glass and it will fill in the space left by both sizes of stones. Last put water in the glass, and it will fill in all the space remaining. However, if you do the opposite and put the same amount of water in first, then sand, then smaller rocks, and last the big rocks the big rocks won’t fit. This is how your life is; you must start with the big rocks. If you know the big rocks for you, you will be the man you desire to be. For me, I must start with God, and then my wife, children, others, then my business. If I approach life with this priority, win! Priorities will help you to be the dad and businessman you hope to be.  Here are some questions from Dr. Cloud in his article in Success Magazine to help identify your big rocks.

  1. If I only had one week to live, how would I live?
  2. What are the top four rocks—the most important things—in my life?
  3. How can I create a lifestyle that is in alignment with my rocks?
  4. What legacy do I want to leave?

Speak. We must express our expectations. Not of others but for ourselves, affirming that I will be a man of intention, focus, and presence. Affirmation is something that I have begun to do more and more. I strive to be what I say to myself in the morning. I am raising my expectation; I expect to win, and, therefore, I rise to that standard. Studies show that we believe more of what we say then what others say. Rewrite your story by using the most powerful muscle in your body your tongue. Speak your expectations and be the man God made you to be.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Boundaries. You must build your fences. Fences for yourself and for others to follow. A lack of boundaries causes a lack of presence and productivity. We have great freedom we are given, and entrepreneurialism enhances that. With great freedom comes great responsibility and ownership of that freedom. The only way to steward freedom properly is by setting up boundaries. Here are my top five: 1. Biblical match. 2. Mental presence and physical presence to match. 3. A day of rest a week. 4. Priority 5. Identifying a problem or a concern. These are five different banks of my river. When I follow them, my life flows when I use my freedom improperly it always causes a problem for me. Set boundaries to have the freedom that brings life not death.

In the end, perfection is a myth. Improvement and presence are what we should be after. Focus on being the best version of yourselves in the moment of time that you are presently in. Adjust, move, ask for forgiveness, pray for wisdom, and never give in. Failure happens in giving up and giving in. Take a step and trust Him with the rest. Be blessed on your journey.

Are you a good entrepreneur and father?

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As an entrepreneur, I desire my children to follow in the crazy footsteps of entrepreneurialism. Just like I learned from my parents, I want to teach and instill skills, heart attitude, and mindset that will serve my kids as they grow. Teaching your child to be an entrepreneur is not something that should happen haphazardly, but with intention.

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Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Not every child will or is wired to grow up to be an entrepreneur, but every child should be taught entrepreneur principles. Entrepreneur principles will help your kids no matter the career choice they choose as they get older. Here are 6 mindset and heart principles every child should be taught.

Giving. Giving is such a crucial part of both following Christ and owning a business. To properly lead and guide staff and to serve customers, instilling a heart of service is required. Any success in business or life without a giving heart will lead your children astray. It is in the giving that our heart aligns with God. Here are some tips by the Daily Parent on how to raise kids with a giving heart. Saying “no” to our desires and “yes” to putting others above ourselves needs to be encouraged and exhorted in our children.

Problem-solving (why). It is easy to give kids answers and not allow for creative imagination. We must allow struggle instead of jumping in and doing or fixing. Encouraging thought and innovation. When explaining things to our kids, put an emphasis on why. Why is harder to explain so it is tempting to throw out because I said so or because. I am guilty of that way too often. When you don’t know, be honest and find out together. It teaches our kids to look for solutions. Here is an excellent article by All Pro Dad on ways to teach your children to be problem solvers. All business is, is meeting a need or problem. Teach your kids to solve problems and they will thrive.

View of failure. What better time to allow your kids to fail and to keep them from fatal failure than when they are under our roof. My instincts as a dad are to rush in and save the day but in all reality, I need to allow failure and encourage my son and daughters to shoot again. Failure should just be merely a learning experience and not a defining point of loss. With the right perspective, children will learn not to fear failure and start to aim higher. Teach your kids not to settle by giving them a proper view of failing.

Romans 8:28 And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Training decision making. If you own a business you know the buck stops with you. You can’t put off or push decision making on to others. Still today I struggle to make the call in non-emergency settings. I am better than I use to be, but I have a long way to go. It is important to allow our kids to make age appropriate decisions. Decision making is a skill, and it must be treated that way. It takes practice and just like any skill there will be success and failure. Help your kids gain confidence by teaching them to lead and make the call.

Earn and spend money. Rachel Cruze talks about the difference between commissions and allowance in this short and great article. It is important for kids to connect work with money. Allow your kids to work with money and teach them how to use it. We have a simple three things they must do with the money they earn. They must give some; it all starts with giving. They must save some. My oldest daughter is saving for an American Girl doll. Lastly, they must spend some. We help them spend wisely and don’t allow them to buy whatever they want. Teach your kids how to earn money and how to spend money to help them become wise stewards in business.

Modeling. In anything we teach our kids it is always more important to model what we expect from them than mere words. Do as I say not as I do is the biggest bunch of bologna I have ever heard. Our actions will always speak louder than our words to our kids. Taking care, you model attributes you want your kids to have will make you a better spouse, parent, and business owner. Those little eyes are always watching and absorbing. Be proud of what they are soaking up by taking care to lead well. Model sound entrepreneurial traits so that your little sponges will soak it up.

Parenting is not formulaic because every child has a will and personality. We would like it to be a recipe book, but it is more art than science. Encourage and foster strengths that you see in your children. We will often fail, but we must never give up. We must learn and grow and always lean on Christ, which gives us what we need for the day. Be blessed as you plant seeds in the future leaders and foster their journey.

What traits are you teaching your kids?

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There is a saying that all ships rise with a rising tide. In your company that tide is culture. Your culture will either work for you raising everyone’s work, attitude, and enjoyment or bring you down. Company culture exists if you are a solopreneur or if you have thousands of employees. A business with distinctive culture will begin to self-audit weeding out those that don’t fit and attracting those that do. Making everything easier a healthy company culture will prosper your business.

culture

Photo by KCNewman Photography

Be Clear. You must know what you are shooting at to make culture excellent. Skills and work ethic that you are born with and have had nurtured and ingrained into you are easy to take for granted. A lot of areas in my life I assumed were common sense. When you make assumptions of common sense, we get vaguer, and your culture becomes confusing rising and falling on emotion. Be precise about terms like “hard work.” What does that mean exactly? Only with a proper map are you going to be able to get the best culture possible.

Hire Wisely. Getting the right people on the bus as Jim Collins says in his excellent book, Good to Great is the only way you are going to have high culture. Some skills you can teach and some skills need to be natural. It is a necessity to figure out the difference and hire for the skills that must be natural. In my food service business, we are looking for naturally smiling people, who get along well with others, care about other people, and go crazy standing around. I have tried to train all of these things and I can’t, but other skills like upselling, cleaning, making pizzas, excellent customer service, and great communication is trainable when team members have the right intangibles. Hiring the right people for the right jobs is necessary for awesome culture.

Upline Manage. Employees must feel and have the ability to upline manage. Establishing a business that empowers all who are part of the organization to watch each other and hold all accountable ensures a united front on culture. You do not want to establish a, “do as I say not as I do” atmosphere. When building an organization making sure that no people are above the company helps the company to operate as a living organism. No one is above the organization, and this needs to be well-known and reinforced to have unrivaled culture.

Data/I Statements. Nothing destroys a culture faster than drama and hurt feelings. We are all human and we will always wound each other’s feelings and have drama, but we must be relentless in trying to destroy these. Speaking of data instead of the meaning we make out of the data keeps conversations on facts and ensures the clearest and most accurate communication. Data keeps the conversation on solutions and keeps confrontations from spiraling out of control. I statements when you are speaking for yourself and we statements when you are speaking for the group is indispensable. Speaking of data and using accurate I statements ensures the stability of your culture.

Recognize. Recognition of accomplishments and milestones bolster and encourages the culture to thrive. It is an opportunity to honor employees’ commitment and to encourage growth in areas of culture that you want to reinforce. Recognition will go a long way in growing a culture around achieving and getting things done. Focus and intentionality on recognition will make your team feel like a team instead of an employee. It will establish that you care for them on an individual level and appreciate what they have done for you and your family. Recognize and encourage your team to prosper your culture.

Have fun. Business should be fun for the most part and this is especially true for culture. Develop a workplace that people want to go to by making your focus on fun while maintaining productivity. Play and work can and should go together. We as entrepreneurs spend most of a waking time working on and thinking about our companies. Why wouldn’t we have a fun thriving culture? I believe a place that people want to be at increases productivity and engagement. Have a good time to increase the power of healthy culture.

Culture is like soil. Healthy grounds will lead to healthy plants. The land requires you to pull weeds to allow the right plants to grow. It requires the right amount of water. Too much or too little and the plants die. Healthy fertile soil creates the right conditions to get the best of the plants in the garden. Make sure that your company has healthy productive soil for your people to prosper in and your business will go places you never imagine. Be blessed on your journey.

Is your company culture thriving?
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This is a guest post by Ralph Mayhew he blogs at www.ralphmayhew.com, to help leaders become better at their craft. He has just written a book called The Anonymous Leader: An unambitious pursuit of influence, which offers a fresh understanding of leadership and calls the reader to greater influence by aligning theirs to God’s –www.theanonymousleader.com. You can also hang out with him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ralph.mayhew.

If leadership is healthy, the tasks leaders apply themselves to will result in growth. Growth however is difficult. My favorite local cafe just expanded to two shops and in the space of a month the coffee was poor, food expensive, staff despondent and care to detail gone. It’s no longer my favorite cafe.  There is a maze that awaits every successful leader. It’s a maze that grows as an organisation, church, business or ministry grows. Below is a map to navigate the maze with, as we explore the 8 dangers associated with growth and how to navigate them for the sake of your people.

The unknown

photo by: KCNewman phototgraphy

1. Irregularity – people come less often as they feel their presence isn’t essential.

When people first buy into something they buy into what they see, not what it will feel like once it’s grown. Growth can affect people into coming less regularly because they are subconsciously convinced they won’t be missed.

Navigation: Ensure each person knows they are important to you.

2. Disconnection – people feel disconnected from each other.

Growth results in more people showing up and for many people, the increase in more people dislodges the community they once experienced. This causes them to feel disconnected.

Navigation: Create opportunities for people to connect and coach them into it.

3. Uncommitted – people think everyone else will do it.

As more people arrive and buy in the vision more people share the workload. The downside of this is that those who were previously involved feel as though their contribution is no longer as important, leading them to lapse in commitment.

Navigation: Develop valuable roles for everyone and communicate the value of each role to the people doing them.

4. Financial Increase – people are charged more money to sustain the growth.

In growth there is always a lag between finance to accommodate the growth and the growth being seen. This dynamic, frequently results in people being charged more or pressured to give more in order to sustain the in-between season. People don’t like this as unfortunately the new cost of things is most often not temporary.

Navigation: Monitor how much you ask from people and ensure you deliver more than that in your serving of them.

5. Anonymity – people feel like they won’t be missed, so they disengage.

Growth means it’s easier to go unnoticed. Some people love this, while others really struggle feeling like they are now ignored or taken for granted.

Navigation: Get to know people’s names and stories as you grow and use that knowledge to value people.

6. Dilution (of product) – People receive a deteriorating quality of product as demand increases.

As growth occurs the product, which appropriately served the previous number of customers, can become unsatisfactory, due to the increase in volume. This in turn renders a previously excellent product inefficient.

Navigation: Everything you need to do needs to be scalable, if it isn’t develop it into something that is.

7. Culture Fades – people will naturally drift from the original culture as more people come along.

As new people enter into a culture the culture bends and adapts in order to embrace those new to it. This can result in the previous appreciated culture changing and slipping from a culture previously enjoyed and attractive to people.

Navigation: Be clear, concise and strong on the culture you want, constantly demand if from people.

8. Loss – people grieve for how it used to be as things change.

As growth takes place people will grieve the loss of what they once had. They will miss how things used to be and the changes that have needed to take place.

Navigation: Care for people with patience and compassion as they adapt to the change they are experiencing.

9. Broken Trust – People struggle to trust in something when it changes rapidly.

People buy into an idea, organisation, church or group of people because they were able to develop trust. When growth takes place, trust can be shaken for people, becoming a barrier to people’s engagement in the new.

Navigation: Help people realize what they have trusted in and what has not changed: your leadership.

 

Growth is healthy, but people’s response to growth may not be. You need to guard against this by helping them adapt and enjoy the benefits of healthy growth.

What other dangers do you see concerning the growth of something?

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I have struggled off and on with faith and how that works with my analytical thinking. I don’t struggle with all faith, but mostly “balancing” my   t-chart personality with God’s plan. Somehow charting my course and weighing out the pros and cons can feel like a lack of faith. Struggling in my own mind can take precedence over weighing the calling of my heart.

ocean

photo by: KCNewman Phototgraphy

It can be hard to figure out what God wants and it can leave many people including me zigzagging through life. When things go well and smooth God must be in it and when things are tough perhaps I picked the wrong path. I know I’m not alone with this thinking and unfortunately it sidelines many people at times.

Our life’s journey is like sailing.

Chart the course. No journey is taken without a direction. It is not a lack of faith to plan, weigh, and proceed in a direction. In fact, this can be a step of great faith to plan out and set goals. Often I have associated God’s movement in only sudden things or surprises, however, He is in the planning with the right heart and mind. I, just like you, am created in the image of God and my t-chart mind was created by Him and for Him. Chart your course and plan your steps.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9

Raise the sails. Faith comes into our lives as raising the sails. Charting the course is needed. Until you exercise the faith of raising the sails you will remain in the harbor. You will be safe and sound existing in the harbor, but the open sea journey is where living happens. Faith in action. Raising the sails is our main part of the journey. God always has His part and He always wants us to do our part. Partnering with Him is one of the greatest blessings of this life. Raise your sails to prepare for the wind.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. – John A. Shedd

Use the rudder. With the ocean pushing on us from side to side, slowly and sometimes quickly it can yank us off track. A constant readjusting is necessary to stay on the narrow path. We will fail, we will get distracted, and life will always demand us to steer back in line. The rudder for me is the Word of God. This puts my life back on center. The Word fills, sustains, and helps me to remain. The Bible has every answer. Sometimes indirectly, but it’s there if we are willing to look. Alive and powerful the Word of God examines us. Allow the Bible to be your rudder on your great journey.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12

THE WIND. God’s will and plan is the wind. It doesn’t mean that it will be smooth and easy sailing because sometimes you maneuver into the wind winding back and forth. This is called tacking. Too often we think of ease as being God’s will when many times in the Bible it points to the opposite. We may go with or against the wind in sailing, however, some sort of wind is needed to move the boat. Without wind sailboats sit idle rolling with the waves being cast about. We are powerless on our own and in this recognition of powerlessness is might and strength because we turn towards the One with all power.

We take the course we think God is leading to the best of our abilities. We do what we think God is leading and if we are wrong we must trust that He will gently redirect us. No matter what God’s promises are true for your life; both consequences and blessings. It does not say IF you pick the right path God will be with you, but that He will be with you. Do your part of charting the course, raising your sails, set the rotor, and trust the wind to guide you. Without the wind we are nothing and that is where trusting God is so important. Trusting that He is gentle and good and has a plan to prosper and not to harm you as long as you go with the wind instead of fighting against it. You are called according to His purpose. Now be blessed on your journey.

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