It’s Highly Possible that You’ve Already Had Your Next Best Idea

Most of us attach the word “audit” to “IRS” and the word association isn’t pleasant.

The general definition of an audit is an evaluation of a person, organization, system, process, enterprise, project or product.

The term most commonly refers to audits in accounting, internal auditing, and government auditing, but similar concepts also exist in project management, quality management, water management, and energy conservation. (from Wikipedia)

Debra Kaye, writing in Red Thread Thinking, wants to give new meaning to the word audit by attaching it to your ideas instead of your tax returns.

There’s plenty of information, products, materials, and technology that can be looked at in a fresh way, modified somehow, and used again.

We’ve all experienced deja vu – looking at an unfamiliar situation and feeling – almost knowing – that you’ve seen it before.

It’s time to flip that phrase.

William Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company magazine and author of Practically Radical, writes that it’s time for the best leaders to demonstrate a capacity for vuja de’. It’s looking at a familiar situation (say, being a leader in ChurchWorld for decades, or designing and delivering a weekly worship experience for years) as if you’ve never seen it before, and with that fresh line of sight, developing a distinctive point of view on the future.

You can’t do big things anymore if you are content with doing things a little better than everyone else, or a little differently from how you’ve done them in the past.

It’s time to look at your organization and your calling as if you are seeing them for the first time.

We all have ideas that never went anywhere. It’s time to unearth old notes from previous development projects. Are there innovations or ventures that you started to work on and then abandoned for some reason?

It’s time for an “idea audit” to see what’s in the back of your hard drive, filing cabinet or closet. When you reassess what’s already there you can uncover what’s worth revisiting.

What should you be looking for in an idea audit? Most organizations and innovators have or can find hidden assets in their past ideas and efforts, including:

  • Existing old technologies that have accessible benefits that can be enhanced and revealed to new constituents
  • Underleveraged technologies or products that could be valued in categories that were not previously considered or by new or niche groups of consumers
  • Unreleased products or too quickly discarded product concepts that could be potential winners, but that went astray because the going-in insight or platform wasn’t properly tweaked
  • Undervalued distribution networks that can be reawakened with partners who want to be where you are
  • Consumer perceptions and sluggish brand equity that can be refreshed to awaken new revenue

In short, open your eyes fresh and look anew.

Look at your resources – every false start, tool, prototype, note, gadget, materials, formula, recipe, or report available – from a different perspective.

Maybe it’s even time for a little Vuja De’.

Most artists look for something fresh to paint; frankly I find that quite boring. For me it is much more exciting to find fresh meaning in something familiar. – Andrew Wyeth

 

inspired by:

 Red Thread Thinking, by Debra Kaye with Karen Kelly

Practically Radical, by William C. Taylor

 

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How to Understand GenZ’s Unique Personality

How can you be more effective about reaching and leading the generation after the Millennials?

Born between 1995 and 2012, at 72.8 million strong, Gen Zers are making their presence known. It is the generation that is now collectively under the age of 25. They’re radically different from the Millennials, yet no one seems to have been talking much about them until recently.

While there has been a great deal of conversation about “fixing” the Millennial generation, we are in danger of missing the next generation as they step into the workplace – and leadership roles at our churches.

As a group, on one hand they have been notorious about dropping out from your church. On they other hand, they make up a significant part of both your ministry participants and prospects.

They are also beginning to step into very visible leadership roles in your church.

So what does Gen Z look like, and what does that mean for your church?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – David Stillman and Jonah Stillman, Gen Z @ Work

A generations expert and author of When Generations Collide and The M-Factor teams up with his 17-year-old son to introduce the next influential demographic group to join the workforce—Generation Z—in this essential study, the first on the subject.

Based on the first national studies of Gen Z’s workplace attitudes; interviews with hundreds of CEOs, celebrities, and thought leaders on generational issues; cutting-edge case studies; and insights from Gen Zers themselves, Gen Z @ Work offers the knowledge today’s leaders need to get ahead of the next gaps in the workplace and how best to recruit, retain, motivate, and manage Gen Zers. Ahead of the curve, Gen Z @ Work is the first comprehensive, serious look at what the next generation of workers looks like, and what that means for the rest of us.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

In order to begin to understand Gen Z, you first need to put them into perspective with the rest of the population at large:

 

Then, there is the conundrum of what to call them. Words matter, and once attached, are hard to change. Each of the generations prior to Gen Z were named, and for various reasons, Gen Z seems to be the one most favored.

But don’t be mistaken – Gen Z is not a “label” to be applied to the millions of individuals born between 1995 and 2012, all with very unique differences. It’s a name – but it represents some very interesting characteristics.

A new generation is starting to hit our workforce, yet no one seems to be talking about it. Until now.

In order to pioneer a dialogue about what they will be like in the workplace, here are seven key traits of Gen Z

Phigital: Gen Z is the first generation born into a world where every physical aspect (people and places) has a digital equivalent.

Hyper-Custom: Gen Z has always worked hard at identifying and customizing their own brand for the world to know. Their ability to customize everything has created an expectation that there is an intimate understanding of their behaviors and desires.

Realistic: Growing up during the aftermath of 9/11, with terrorism part of everyday life, as well as living through a severe recession early on, has created a very pragmatic mindset when it comes to planning and preparing for the future.

FOMO: Gen Z suffers from an intense fear of missing out on anything. The good news is that they will stay on top of all trends and competition. The bad news is that Gen Z will always worry that they aren’t moving ahead fast enough and in the right direction.

Weconomists: From Uber to Airbnb, Gen Z has only known a world with a shared economy. Gen Z will push the workplace to break down internal and external silos to leverage the collective in new convenient and cost-effective ways.

DIY: Gen Z is the do-it-yourself generation. Having grown up on YouTube, which can teach them how to do just about anything, Gen Z believes that they can do just about anything themselves.

Driven: With parents who drilled into them that participation is not a real reward and that there are winners and losers, a recession that pulled the rug out from their predecessors, and a rate of change that is hard to keep up with, it is no wonder that Gen Z is one driven generation.

David Stillman and Jonah Stillman, Gen Z @ Work

A NEXT STEP

If you want to know more about Gen Z in your church, start at the source. Even with the wide range of ages, it would be informative to sit down with a group of Gen Zers and have a dialogue with them:

  • What do they like to do with free time?
  • Who is their favorite celebrity?
  • What kind of music and entertainment do they regularly listen to?
  • What brands do they like the best?
  • What apps do they use most on their phones?
  • What colleges do they want to go to, if at all?
  • What is most important to them right now?

Another goldmine of information on Gen Zers? Teachers! Take a few teachers out to lunch and ask them:

  • What do they see happening with this generation, as they become young adults and leaders in the world?
  • What were their biggest struggles in working with Gen Z?
  • What gaps do they see in current societal needs that Gen Zers may struggle with?
  • For those teachers who have been around awhile, what were the biggest differences between Gen Z and Millennials (born 1980-1994)?

Finally, take a look at the list of seven traits above. Which is most important to you in terms of ministry with Gen Z? Share that with your team and encourage them to be on the lookout for Gen Zers who have this trait, and how it can be used in your churches ministry.

On the flip side, take a look at the list again, looking for the least important trait. Recognizing that it may be important to others, dialogue with your team how this trait can be strengthened with the Gen Zers you minister with.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix #70-1, released July 2017.


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.

 

>> Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

Leaders Lead with Character

While the phrase “natural born leader” is often used, there’s really not scientific support for this phenomenon. In reality anyone could become a leader and everyone should grow as a leader.

To become a leader is to become a learner. Leadership is not a natural gifting but a set of abilities, and like any other skill set it is to be learned and improved.

Those who have chosen to take on or accept a leadership role must own their personal responsibility for developing their leadership ability.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Integrity, by Henry Cloud

Integrity—more than simple honesty, it’s the key to success. A person with integrity has the ability to pull everything together, to make it all happen no matter how challenging the circumstances. Drawing on experiences from his work, Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist, leadership coach, corporate consultant and nationally syndicated radio host, shows how our character can keep us from achieving all we want to (or could) be.

In Integrity, Dr. Cloud explores the six qualities of character that define integrity, and how people with integrity.

Integrity is not something that you either have or don’t, but instead is an exciting growth path that all of us can engage in and enjoy.

 

A SIMPLE SOLUTION – Lead with Character

Most people view integrity as an aspect of honesty. Integrity is adherence to code of ethics or set of values. It also involves how well our actions match our beliefs. It suggests a wholeness or coherence in our philosophies and values, in our public and private statements, and in our actions across a variety of situations.

In short, integrity is about character.

Character has components to it, or traits, and areas of functioning where it operates. Those contexts are the real places where our personhood and reality interface and results occur, either positive or negative.

Character = the ability to meet the demands of reality.

What I have tried to do is take aspects of character and put them into functions that tend to be different from each other, and therefore discrete, and at the same time, related to each other, and therefore integrated. If we have that combination, then we can focus on specific aspects of our makeup and, at the same time, be focusing on all of our makeup and getting it working together.

Let’s look at what those aspects of character are:

The ability to connect authentically (which leads to trust)

The ability to be oriented toward the truth (which leads to finding and operating in reality)

The ability to work in a way that gets results and finishes well (which leads to reaching goals, profits, or the mission)

The ability to embrace, engage, and deal with the negative (which leads to ending problems, resolving them, or transforming them)

The ability to be oriented toward growth (which leads to increase)

The ability to be transcendent (which leads to enlargement of the bigger picture of oneself)

Henry Cloud, Integrity

A NEXT STEP

Riders in London’s Underground (subway) are very familiar with the audible and visible warning to “mind the gap.” It’s a phrase issued to rail passengers to take caution while crossing the horizontal spatial gap between the train door and the station platform.

Maybe a more familiar use comes from the immortal wisdom of Rocky Balboa, when asked about what attracted him to his future wife, Adrian: “She’s got gaps, I got gaps. Together, we fill gaps.”

We all have gaps, especially when it comes to our character. Do not take this as a weakness, but instead think of it as chance to improve.

Look at the list of character traits above, and list them on a chart tablet. On a scale of “1” (I have little ability in this area) to “5” (I am very confident in this ability), assign yourself a number for each character trait.

The gap is our need and opportunity for growth.

For each character trait you scored between a 1 and 3, list actions you can take to advance the development of that trait to become a 4 or 5.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 69-2, issued June 2017.


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.

 

>> Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

Leaders Get Calendared

Do you find yourself constantly running from one issue to the next without any margin in your life?

Do you feel like you are over-committed to such a degree that the truly important things have been slipping a little?

Do you wish for a reset button and dream of starting over someplace new, just like you did last time? (How did that work out for you?)

Many times we neglect the lasting work of ministry for the instant gratification of solving a problem or being the hero. The thing is, nobody wins when church activity replaces people development. Pastors, more than anyone, must learn to be disciplined to focus, and do only what only they can do.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Kevin Kruse, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management

What if a few new habits could dramatically increase your productivity, and even 5x or 10x in key areas? What if you could get an hour a day to read, exercise, or to spend with your family?

New York Times bestselling author, Kevin Kruse, presents the remarkable findings of his study of ultra-productive people. Based on survey research and interviews with billionaires, Olympic athletes, straight-A students, and over 200 entrepreneurs—-including Mark Cuban, Kevin Harrington, James Altucher, John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, Grant Cardone, and Lewis Howes – Kruse answers the question: “What are the secrets to extreme productivity?”

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Faced with a mountain of tasks to do and things to accomplish, most of us feel immediately better when we’ve put all of these things on a “to-do list.” And, there is some value in putting things to be done on paper (or digitally stored).

But that value is practically nothing unless you find a way to act upon that thing.

Highly successful people dont have a to-do list, but they do have a very well-kept calendar.

One of the most consistent actions you can take to get things done is to schedule time for them.

The simple act of scheduling tasks on your calendar – instead of writing them on a to-do list – will free your mind, reduce stress, and increase cognitive performance. There are several key concepts to managing your life using your calendar instead of a to-do list.

First, schedule a chunk of time for everything that is important to you; this is called “time blocking” or “time boxing.” Focus on those things that bring you closer to your goals each and every day.

Second, important items should be scheduled as early in the day as possible. As the day progresses, all kinds of things will come up, and you will find it hard to keep focused on the important things.

Third, dont cancel goals; reschedule them if necessary. When circumstances prevent keeping an important time-block, reschedule it, keeping it as a priority.

Fourth, treat your time-blocked calendar entries as if they were appointments with your doctor; they are that important. Don’t cave in on your self-scheduled appointments; they really are important!

When you master the practice of time-blocking – using your calendar instead of your to-do list – you can literally see your life’s priorities by looking at your weekly calendar.

Kevin Kruse, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management

A NEXT STEP

Utilizing a calendar is probably second nature to you, whether a digital calendar or a print calendar, or a combination of both. Even so, review the four concepts listed above and choose to implement them as a part of a two-week experiment.

Putting these concepts into use can transform your calendar into a powerful life-guiding tool.

Using the concepts above, make an effort over the next two weeks to put them into practice in your daily calendaring. By utilizing these concepts, you are in effect designing your ideal week with your priorities.

At the end of the two-week experiment, what changes have you noticed? What changes have those closest to you noticed?

Now challenge your team toward this same effort. Begin to celebrate calendaring success and measure the increased output and impact of your efforts.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 68-2, issued June 2017.


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.

 

>> Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

Grow Your Leadership Skills – Lead with Influence

Do you know you are a leader, but need help growing your leadership skills?

While the phrase “natural born leader” is often used, there’s really not scientific support for this phenomenon. In reality anyone could become a leader and everyone should grow as a leader.

To become a leader is to become a learner. Leadership is not a natural gifting but a set of abilities, and like any other skill set it is to be learned and improved.

Those who have chosen to take on or accept a leadership role must own their personal responsibility for developing their leadership ability.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, et al, Influencer

Whether you’re a CEO, a parent, or merely a person who wants to make a difference, you probably wish you had more influence with the people in your life. But most of us stop trying to make change happen because we believe it is too difficult, if not impossible. We learn to cope rather than learning to influence.

From the bestselling authors who taught the world how to have Crucial Conversations comes the new edition of Influencer, a thought-provoking book that combines the remarkable insights of behavioral scientists and business leaders with the astonishing stories of high-powered influencers from all walks of life. You’ll be taught each and every step of the influence process–including robust strategies for making change inevitable in your personal life, your business, and your world. You’ll learn how to:

  • Identify high-leverage behaviors that lead to rapid and profound change
  • Apply strategies for changing both thoughts and actions
  • Marshal six sources of influence to make change inevitable

Influencer takes you on a fascinating journey from San Francisco to Thailand to South Africa, where you’ll see how seemingly “insignificant” people are making incredibly significant improvements in solving problems others would think impossible. You’ll learn how savvy folks make change not only achievable and sustainable, but inevitable. You’ll discover breakthrough ways of changing the key behaviors that lead to greater safety, productivity, quality, and customer service.

No matter who you are or what you do, you’ll never learn a more valuable or important set of principles and skills. Once you tap into the power of influence, you can reach out and help others work smarter, grow faster, live, look, and feel better–and even save lives. The sky is the limit . . . for an Influencer.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

John Maxwell, arguably one of the most respected authorities on leadership, is well known for his definition of leadership as being influence – nothing more, nothing less.

It is a good start, but it is not adequate by itself.

David Burkas, executive coach, modifies Maxwell’s definition:

Leadership is the process of influencing others to work toward a mutually desired vision.

Leaders, then, recruit and influence followers to work together to make a shared vision reality.

At the end of the day, what qualifies people to be called “leaders” is their capacity to influence others to change their behavior in order to achieve important results.

Influencers are successful because they think intentionally about their ability to help others act in unprecedentedly effective ways. They think about influencing behavior, talk about it, and practice it.

Three keys that all influencers adhere to and that you can use to your own benefit:

Focus and measure. Influencers are crystal clear about the result they are trying to achieve and are zealous about measuring it.

Find vital behaviors. Influencers focus on high-leverage behaviors that drive results. More specifically, they focus on the two or three vital actions that produce the greatest amount of change.

Engage all six sources of influence. Influencers break from the pack by overdetermining change. Where most of us apply a favorite influence tool or two to our important challenges, influencers identify all of the varied forces that are shaping the behavior they want to change and then get them working for rather than against them. And now for the really good news. According to research, by getting six different sources of influence to work in their favor, influencers increase their odds of success tenfold. The six sources are:

  • Personal motivation – help them love what they hate

  • Personal ability – help them do what they can’t

  • Social motivation – provide encouragement

  • Social ability – provide assistance

  • Structural motivation – change their economy

  • Structural ability – change their space

Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, et al, Influencer

A NEXT STEP

Review each of the three keys above by considering the following questions.

Influence begins when you focus and measure

  • Identify what you are really trying to accomplish
  • Create measures that focus your attention on this goal
  • Takes these measures frequently

Next, find vital behaviors

  • Identify two or three behaviors that will drive the majority of your change
  • Concentrate all your change efforts on these behaviors

Finally, engage all six sources of influence

  • Review the six sources of influence listed above
  • Which of these six sources are working against you?
  • How can you turn it from a negative into a positive source of influence?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 69-1, issued June 2017


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.

Time Management Begins with Being Organized

Do you spend more time fighting fires than making disciples?

Do you find yourself constantly running from one issue to the next without any margin in your life?

Do you feel like you are over-committed to such a degree that the truly important things have been slipping a little?

Do you wish for a reset button and dream of starting over someplace new, just like you did last time? (How did that work out for you?)

Many times we neglect the lasting work of ministry for the instant gratification of solving a problem or being the hero. The thing is, nobody wins when church activity replaces people development. Pastors, more than anyone, must learn to be disciplined to focus, and do only what only they can do.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Time Management Magic, by Lee Cockerell

During Lee Cockerell’s career at Disney as the Senior Operating Executive of Walt Disney World Resort, he led a team of 40,000 Cast Members (employees) and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, four theme parks, two water parks and the ESPN Sports Complex.

As you can imagine, Lee had to become a time management expert, first as a means of survival and then as a way to help others make the best use of their time. The time management secrets he developed have become one of his most requested corporate training lectures and are now available to you in this tell–all book.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Almost everyone you encounter feels that he or she has too much to handle and not enough time to get it all done. We may have a “better” life than earlier generations, but at what price? Increased stress levels? Growing frustration?

Our lives no longer have clear boundaries. Not only does it seem that our work and personal lives are always open-ended, the two are usually intertwined.

If our lives have changed, then it stands to reason that the old models and habits used to deal with life are insufficient, and need to change as well.

Most people are not overworkedthey are under-organized.

We need to figure out how to be more organized, so we can get all the urgent, vital, and important things done before it’s too late. I believe the average person can do 50 percent more than they are doing now, including all the right things, if they have an effective system for keeping their lives under control.

The number one excuse people use for not getting done what should be done is, “I did not have enough time.” It’s really nothing more than an excuse, since we all have exactly the same amount of time.

Time management is the act of controlling the events in your life.

A lot of people would reject that definition because they believe we can’t control the events in our lives, because so much of what we deal with every day springs up unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere.

Here are some practical tips that will give you a high level of control:

Surround yourself with great people – hire skilled people with passion for their work and a can-do attitude.

Train and educate – train your team thoroughly and educate them about every aspect of your operation, including values, philosophy, priorities, and mission.

Be crystal clear about your expectations – communicate your expectations with unambiguous clarity.

Anticipate and practice – think through all the things that can happen and practice how you will handle them.

Leave spaces in your calendar – pencil in free, uncommitted periods in your day, every day.

Do it now! – when something comes up that must be done, do it; don’t procrastinate.

Lee Cockerell, Time Management Magic

A NEXT STEP

Review Lee’s list of six practical tips listed above, and rank them from what you do best to what you do worst.

Starting at the bottom (the action that you are the worst at), make a specific effort for the next week to put that tip into practice. For example, if you don’t leave spaces in your calendar, take the time to create space each day in your calendar for the next week.

At the end of the week, take time to review the past week, and note how taking that action changed your daily routine. Was it for the better? How? Was it about the same? Did it make it worse? Ask yourself, “Is this something I need to make a regular part of my routine?”

After completing the “worst” of the six tips, go to the next one, and repeat the actions above for the next week. Repeat each one until you have completed all six.

At the end of six weeks, and having experimented with all six of the tips above, take time to review the process.

  • How has your daily routine improved?
  • Have others on your team noticed?
  • Which of the six tips are you planning to keep and make a part of your regular routine?
  • Which of the six didn’t work for you? Why?

Now repeat this exercise every six months as a reminder on the importance of organization.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 68-1, released June 2017.


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.

Celebrating National Doughnut Day…

In honor of National Doughnut Day, a “sweet” repost:

National Doughnut Day was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to honor women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I. The holiday is traditionally celebrated on the first Friday of June.

Here’s an infographic from Fast Company magazine about today’s National Doughnut Day:

Upon closer look at the picture above – especially the statistic in the doughnut hole – it’s nice to know that I’m above average.

Seriously.

Homer Price and the Dougnut MachineLike many things in my life, this fondness all came about because of a book: “Homer Price and the Doughnut Machine.”  I have great memories of reading about Homer and Uncle Ulysses and the automatic doughnut machine. I remembered the image of doughnuts stacked to the ceiling with more coming out of the machine every minute. I’ve looked for a machine like that for a long time, but the Krispy Kreme shop is as close as I’ll come! Reading that book gave me a taste for doughnuts that continues to this day.

Thinking about Homer Price, I just happened to be near my favorite used bookstore in Charlotte – Book Buyers. On a whim, I pulled in, went to the children’s section, and there it was, just like I remembered it. With my $1 purchase, I’m going to start the day off, reading the story again – with a doughnut, of course!

There’s no “Hot Light” in my hometown, but that’s not going to stop me from celebrating…

If you’ve still got a sweet tooth, check out this post on the secrets to Krispy Kreme’s success.