Guiding Your Multigenerational Workplace Through Five Growth Precepts

In 2020, 25 percent of the labor force is projected to be over the age of 55 – and they’re not retiring anytime soon. These projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the US Department of Labor indicate that not only will Baby Boomers continue to work alongside their current Generation X and Millennial colleagues, but that they will still be around when Generation Z joins the workforce.

The result? A clash of cultures that will require a new management approach.

Gone are the days when people entered the workforce as young adults, worked until their late 50s, and then moved off into retirement while younger generations took their place. Instead, the average retirement age has steadily been creeping up in recent decades as older employees – in particular, the Baby Boomers – stay in the workforce either by choice or by necessity.

Before we dive into the discussion, here’s a brief recap of just who comprises the generational cohorts mentioned above. While there’s no set standard, the following descriptions are generally accepted:

  • Baby Boomers – born in the years 1946-1964, numbering about 76 million people
  • Generation Xers – born in the years 1965-1980, numbering about 66 million people
  • Millennials – born in the years 1981-1997, numbering just over 83 million people
  • Generation Zers – born in the years 1998-present, numbering over 80 million and still growing

How do you manage the workplace reality of having three or four different generations on your team?

THE QUICK SUMMARYGenerations at Work: Managing the Clash of Boomers, GenXers, and GenYers in the Workplace by Ron Zemke, Claire Raines, and Bob Filipczak

Written for all who are struggling to manage a workforce with often incompatible ethics, values, and working styles, Generations at Work looks afresh at the root causes of professional conflict and offers practical guidelines for navigating multigenerational differences.

By laying bare the most common causes of conflict – including the Me Generation’s frustration with GenYers’ constant desire for feedback and the challenges facing GenXers sandwiched between these polarities – the book offers practical, spot-on guidance for managing the differences with consideration to each generation’s unique needs.

Along with the authors’ insights for managing a workforce with different ways of working, communicating, and thinking, the book offers in-depth interviews with members of each generation, tips on best practices from companies successfully bridging the generation gap, and a mentorship field guide to help you support the youngest members of your team–tools, which are the key to helping your workforce interact more positively with one another and thrive in today’s wildly divergent workplace culture.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

According to the authors of Generations at Work, today’s workplace contains the conflicting voices and views of the most age- and value-diverse workplace the world has known since our great-great-great-grandparents abandoned field and farm for factory and office. At no time in our history have so many and such different generations with such diversity been asked to work together shoulder to shoulder, side by side, and cubicle to cubicle.

While there have certainly been multiple generations employed in the same organization before, they were mainly separated from each other by the hierarchy of a manufacturing-oriented economy. Senior (older) employees – mostly white and male – worked in the head office or were top management positions in key parts of the company. Middle-aged employees tended to be in middle management or high-skill, seniority-protected trade jobs. The youngest, newest, and physically strongest were on the factory floor or endured time in specific trainee slots that would lead, over time, to middle management – at best.

Among all the groups mentioned above, contact was primarily horizontal; with people like themselves, or at best, one level up or down the chain of command. Mingling among the generations, if and when it happened at all, was significantly influenced by formality and protocol.

Today’s workplace is totally different. The old pecking order, hierarchy, and shorter work life spans that kept a given generational cohort isolated from others no longer exist or they exist in a more permeable manner.

An unfortunate outcome of this shift is the likelihood of intergenerational conflict: differences in values, views, and ways of working, talking, and thinking that set people in opposition to one another, and challenge organizational best practices.

While generational differences have existed for, well, generations, what’s different is that this new generation gap is a four-way divide. The once “natural” flow of resources, power, and responsibilities from older to younger has been dislocated by changes in life expectancy, increases in longevity and health, as well as changes in lifestyle, technology, and knowledge.

Life for every generation has become increasingly nonlinear, unpredictable, and uncharitable.

Generational differences can be a source of creative strength and a source of opportunity, or a source of stifling stress and unrelenting conflict. Understanding generational differences is critical to making them work for the organization and not against it.

Accommodate employee differences

With employee retention at or near the top of the list of organizational “must meet” measures, the most generationally friendly organizations treat their employees as they do their customers. They learn all they can about them, work to meet their specific needs, and serve them according to their unique preferences. Each generation’s icons, language, and precepts are acknowledged, and language is used that reflects generations other than those “at the top.”

Create choices

Generationally friendly companies allow the workplace to shape itself around the work being done, the customers being served, and the people who work there.  They recognize that people from a mix of generations have differing needs and preferences, and they design their human resources strategies to meet varied employee needs. “Change” is not so much the name of a training seminar or a core value listed somewhere in their mission statement as it is an assumed way of living and working.

Operate from a sophisticated management style

Generationally friendly managers don’t have time for BS, although they are tactful. They give those who report to them the big picture, with specific goals and measures, and then they turn their people loose – giving them feedback, rewards, and recognition as appropriate.

Respect competence and initiative

Generationally friendly organizations assume the best of people. They treat everyone, from the newest recruit to the most seasoned employee, as if they have great things to offer and are motivated to do their best. It is an attitude that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Nourish initiative

Generationally friendly organizations are concerned and focused, on a daily basis, with making their workplaces magnets for excellence. They know that keeping their people is every bit as important in today’s economy as finding and retaining customers. Therefore, they offer lots of training, from one-on-one coaching opportunities to interactive online training to an extensive and varied menu of classroom courses. They encourage lateral movement within the organization and have broadened assignments.

Ron Zemke, Claire Raines, and Bob Filipczak, Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Boomers, GenXers, and GenYers in the Workplace

A NEXT STEP

Set aside time at a future leadership team meeting to review your organizational structure in terms of the five initiatives listed above.

On five separate chart tablets, write one phrase each as listed above across the top. Draw a vertical line down the center of each chart tablet, and write the words, “Positive” and “Negative” on either side of the line.

Discuss with your team how each one of the five initiatives are demonstrated in your organization in both positive and negative terms.

After your discussion is concluded, decide how you will celebrate the positive actions and correct the negative actions.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 127-1, released September 2019.


 

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 “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<

Fight Information Overload by Going Minimal

Information overload.

You live it every day – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. You’re more informed and connected than ever.

Yet, if you’re honest, you’re probably feeling more distracted than ever.

More lonely. More restless.

According to studies done by Barna Research:

  • 71% of people feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they need to stay up to date.
  • 36% of adults stop what they’re doing to check a text or message when it comes in.
  • 35% of adults think their personal electronics sometimes separate them from other people.

Being hyperlinked changes every aspect of our lives – and often, not for the better.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.

In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives.

Digital minimalists are all around us. They’re the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day, but don’t feel overwhelmed by it. They don’t experience “fear of missing out” because they already know which activities provide them meaning and satisfaction.

Now, Newport gives us a name for this quiet movement, and makes a persuasive case for its urgency in our tech-saturated world. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital Sabbath, don’t go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. What we need instead is a thoughtful method to decide what tools to use, for what purposes, and under what conditions.

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day “digital declutter” process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

While many leaders believe in the power of digital platforms, and recognize the importance of various specific applications, a growing number of those same leaders feel as though their current relationship with technology is unsustainable – to the point that if something doesn’t change soon, they will reach a breaking point.

According to author Cal Newport, people don’t succumb to screens because they’re lazy, but instead billions of dollars have been invested to make this outcome inevitable.

It seems we have stumbled backward into a digital life we didn’t sign up for.

My research on digital minimalism has revealed the existence of a loosely organized “attention resistance movement,” made up of individuals who combine high-tech tools with disciplined operating procedures to conduct surgical strikes on popular attention economy services – dropping in to extract value, and then slipping away before the attention traps set by those companies can spring shut.

The tactics below have proved successful in shunting aside relentless efforts to capture your attention.

Delete Social Media from Your Phone

The smartphone versions of social media sites are much more adept at hijacking your attention than the versions accessed through a web browser on your laptop or desktop computer. Because you always have your phone with you, every occasion becomes an opportunity to check your feeds. If you’re going to use social media, stay far away from the mobile versions of these services, as they pose a significantly bigger risk to our time and attention. This practice suggests you remove all social media apps from your phone. You don’t have to quit these services, you just have to quit accessing them on the go.

Turn Your Devices Into Single-Purpose Computers

The sentiment that temporarily blocking features of a general-purpose computer reduces its potential is common for tools that do just that. It’s also flawed: it represents a misunderstanding of computation and productivity that benefits the large digital attention economy conglomerates much more than the individual users that they exploit. As many have discovered, the rapid switching between different applications tends to make the human’s interaction with the computer less productive in terms of the quality and quantity of what is produced. This practice of blocking might at first seem overly aggressive, but what it’s actually doing is bringing you back closer to the ideal of sing-purpose computing that’s much more compatible with our human attention systems.

Use Social Media Like a Professional

Social media professionals approach these tools differently than the average user. They seek to extract large amounts of value for their professional and (to a lesser degree) personal lives, while avoiding much of the low-value distortion these services deploy to lure users into compulsive behavior. Their disciplined professionalism, in other words, provides a great example for any digital minimalist looking to join the attention resistance. To a social media pro, the idea of endlessly surfing your feed in search of entertainment is a trap (these platforms have been designed to take more and more of your attention) – an act of being used by these services instead of using them to your own advantage.

Embrace Slow Media

To embrace news media from a mind-set of slowness requires first and foremost that you focus only on the highest-quality sources. Breaking news, for example, is almost always much lower quality than the reporting that’s possible once an event has occurred and journalists have had time to process it. Similarly, consider limiting yourself to the best of the best when it comes to selecting individual writers you follow. Another important aspect of slow news is the decisions you make regarding how and when this consumption occurs. The key to embracing Slow Media is the general commitment to maximizing the quality of what you consume and the conditions under which you consume it.

Dumb Down Your Smartphone

Declaring your freedom from you smartphone is probably the most serious step you can take toward embracing the attention resistance. Dumbing down your phone, of course, is a big decision. Convincing yourself that a dumb phone can satisfy your need so that its benefits outweigh its costs is not necessarily easy. Indeed, it might require a leap of faith – a commitment to test life without a smartphone to see what it’s really like.

Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

A NEXT STEP

According to author Cal Newport, if you are exhausted by your “digital device addiction,” it’s not only possible to say, “No More,” it’s actually not that hard.

Set aside some time (without your phone!) to review the following five suggestions listed above. For each, make a Pro/Con list for what it would mean to your life if you took that action.

Review the list, and make a decision to embrace at least one of the actions for the next week.

After the week has passed, reflect on what taking that action meant to you, in terms of time gained, relationships grown, etc.

Consider another action to undertake, and follow the same suggestions.

At the end of one month’s experiments, talk with your spouse or a close colleague who would have noticed the changes in your routine and its results. What do they have to say?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 126-1, released September 2019.


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 “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<

Pursue Hospitality in Your Home

Note: During the month of August, I will be going back to previous SUMS Remix issues relating to hospitality in the home that have not been published here on the Wednesday Weekly Reader. Why? In these crazy times, we could all use a refresher in how to be a better neighbor. I’m also posting these to support an Auxano initiative during the month of August, Building Bridges to our Neighbors.


In April 2020, as this issue of SUMS Remix was being prepared, most of the United States was under some type of mandate restricting movement. Typically called “physical distancing,” the intent is to minimize the chances of the coronavirus being spread by maintaining a distance of at least six feet when you are in public settings.

However, even if “physical distancing” (the more correct term) is required, “social interaction” is needed more now than ever before.

Efforts taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus should encourage strengthening social ties while maintaining that physical distancing.

Therefore, some of this content may not be applicable under current restrictions in your community; however, the intent is critical in moving forward as we demonstrate hospitality to our neighborhoods, in every season

According to Rosaria Butterfield,

Christians are called to live in the world but not live like the world. Christians are called to dine with sinners but not sin with sinners.

She adds,

We live in a world awash with counterfeit hospitality. Knowing the difference between the grace of God and its counterfeit is crucial to Christian living.

Hospitality shares what there is; that’s all. It’s not entertainment. It’s not supposed to be.

THE QUICK SUMMARY

When people live in community moved by the gospel and marked by the Spirit, great things happen.

They commit to one another. They grieve together, sing together, eat, pray, and play together. They love, serve, honor, encourage, and provide for each other gladly. And they live on mission together.

Hearts are healed, walls come down, and outsiders come in. No competition. No pretense. No vain conceit. Just full hearts breaking bread and giving freely.

It is nothing short of amazing.

Most of us live in a shadow of what God intended for us. Life in Community calls us into the light. Reclaiming Scripture’s stunning vision of gospel-centered community, it inspires us to live in love unbounded. Read it, live it, and join the movement: Help unleash the power of extraordinary community.


A SIMPLE SOLUTION

According to author Dustin Willis, too often we view our homes as a place of refuge rather than tools to advance the gospel. We come home from work or school or other obligations, pull in the driveway, go into the house, and lock the door behind us. The next morning we reverse that order, and repeat the pattern day after day.

Hospitality gives us the opportunity to break that cycle, and live out the gospel to those we invite into our homes.

In Romans 12:13, Paul challenges us to “pursue hospitality.” It’s not a once and done proposition; it’s an idea of continuous action.

Hospitality is the practical outworking of the gospel into the rhythm of our everyday lives. We practice hospitality when we consistently receive others into our lives and homes in the same fashion as Christ received us.

The home is the greatest environment that exists to create and cultivate community. But how do we “do it right”?

Hospitality is Not About Entertaining

We’re inviting folks into real life in a way that they get to know the real us, and feel comfortable enough to be their real selves, which leads to real community. Relax and let people see you and how God’s grace meets you in your messy life.

Hospitality is About an Open Life

Hospitality is about relational posture and attitude far more than any skill, action, or practice. It’s a heart that says, “Yes there is room in my life for you.”

Hospitality is a Community Project

Hospitality is a community endeavor. God has sovereignly placed you with the people you are around so you can team up in your efforts. Every shortcoming you have is an opportunity for God to provide through someone else.

Hospitality Can Be Planned or Spontaneous

Whether you are a Type A planner or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants personality, you can make hospitality a regular part of your life.

Hospitality is Powerful

Scriptural patterns of hospitality shows that genuine love leads to offering hospitality – both for those in our community and for strangers outside of our community.

Hospitality is Worth the Sacrifice

Gospel community calls us to give up the isolated view of our home. By pursuing hospitality, we grow from a self-focused, self-centered way of life and use our homes as a tool for displaying the gospel.

Dustin Willis, Life In Community: Joining Together to Display the Gospel

A NEXT STEP

As appropriate, with regard to your current shelter-in-place or government recommendations, take author Dustin Willis’  practical ideas for pursuing hospitality in your home.

What night of the week could you commit to invite someone into your home for a meal?

Do you know your neighbors’ names? What would it take for you to learn their names and something simple about them?

What would it take for you to offer them hospitality?

Who’s the new family on the block? Is there a new coworker? Could you invite them to dinner?

Hospitality is a great way to provide a tangible blessing (a warm meal) and a source of encouragement (a warm conversation) to those who are broken. Who around you is hurting?


 

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 “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

August Special: When you purchase a SUMS Remix annual subscription during the month of August, you will also receive a PDF containing all seven issues of SUMS Remix that have a “hospitality in the home” theme. The PDF will be emailed to you after purchase.

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<

Share Your Table With Others

Note: During the month of August, I will be going back to previous SUMS Remix issues relating to hospitality in the home that have not been published here on the Wednesday Weekly Reader. Why? In these crazy times, we could all use a refresher in how to be a better neighbor. I’m also posting these to support an Auxano initiative during the month of August, Building Bridges to our Neighbors.


In the fall of 2019, the motion picture “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks as beloved television icon Fred Rogers made its debut. Rogers was the creator, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968-2001.

As a musician, puppeteer, writer, and producer, Fred Rogers’ gentle demeanor brought beautiful simplicity through nurturing interactions with young children to over 30 years of viewers. His enigmatic theme song, from which the motion picture takes its title, includes the following lines, which many adults can recall:

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,

A beautiful day for a neighbor,

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

Fred Rogers was also a Presbyterian minister, and it’s likely those lines were inspired by another story of a neighbor.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus asked the expert in law, in effect, “Who is your neighbor?”

It’s almost 2020, and the question remains, “Who is our neighbor?”

From the television neighborhoods of Beaver Cleaver and Andy Taylor, to Mr. Rogers, to Sam and Diane, to Jerry and Kramer, to Rachel and Monica and Phoebe and Chandler and Joey, to Phil and Claire, to Jack and Rebecca and Randall and Kate, it’s a question that mainly depicts an unfulfilled longing for a neighborhood that actually works.

It occurs to me that this is not a neighborhood; it is only a collection of unconnected individuals.

Philip Langdon, A Better Place to Live

Long gone are the days where kids played in the yards and streets all day “till the street lights came on” and where neighbors talked across fences or on front porches.

It seems as if the people we live closest to appear only briefly when the car leaves the garage in the morning and comes back in the evening.

It seems as if the idea of “neighborhood” has disappeared in reality if not actuality, and with it the idea of knowing for, and caring for, neighbors.

As Lance Ford and Brad Brisco write in “Next Door as in Heaven:”

What does all this neighborhood business have to do with the gospel? As Jesus followers – people of the Good News – we follow the one who said the most important commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We have a tremendous opportunity before us: to take notice and help resurrect rich relationship in our neighborhoods.

If anyone should “neighbor” differently, it should be us.

According to Leonard Sweet, if we really want to learn someone’s story, sitting down at the table and breaking bread together is the best way to start.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay

Written for those who are trying to nurture authentic faith communities and for those who have struggled to retain their faith, The Tangible Kingdom offers theological answers and real-life stories that demonstrate how the best ancient church practices can re-emerge in today’s culture, through any church of any size.

In this remarkable book, Hugh Halter and Matt Smay “two missional leaders and church planters” outline an innovative model for creating thriving grass-roots faith communities.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

You may have watched it in person in the early 80s-early 90s, or you may have binge-watched it last weekend, but there’s no doubt the sitcom “Cheers” depicted a fictional, but aspirational setting where “everybody knows your name.”

Authors Hugh Halter and Matt Smay remind us of another similar setting from the same time period, what sociologist Ray Oldenburg called “the third place.” Different from home and work (the first and second places, respectfully, “the third place” is somewhere people can relax, in good company, on a regular basis. They are places of familiarity, where people can find and make friends.

Following the concepts that Starbucks introduced at about the same time, many churches tried to make “third places” out of their programs or spaces on campus – mostly without great success.

What if we turned our thoughts and actions from church-campus based instead to a neutral, public place, or our homes?

As the authors say, “Good things just seem to happen when we share spontaneously.”

I’ve concluded that, almost without exception, relationships are formed, important dialogue and conversation begin, and powerful moments of ministry occur during spontaneous, unplanned moments while we are sharing our lives together.

What’s the big deal with food? Go through the Gospels and note how many stories include sharing food. This is a great opportunity to see something that is so often missed when we look at God’s mission in the world.

The fact that there’s almost always food around isn’t surprising, since our scriptures are written in an entirely Eastern context. In Eastern cultures, food, the home, and hospitality are the center of culture, life, and relationships. Gook, like music, is something anyone can share and enjoy with others, even if they can’t speak the same language. Food is tangible and gives you something to do when you’re socially nervous. Food relieves tension. It brings complete strangers to the same table without any instructions or barriers. Food satisfies our greatest physical need and allows people to show creativity and thoughtfulness. It invites participation and is welcome in any setting.

Furthermore, God uses the banquet table analogy to speak about heaven, salvation, and evangelism. Christ uses the phrase “bread of life” to refer to himself. God even brings back the tree of life found in Genesis and plants it right in the middle of heaven and causes it to produce a different fruit every month!

I’m not sure what definition you use for evangelism, but my favorite has to do with “changing people’s assumptions.” To me, if we can dismantle their stereotypes of Christians, we’re on our way to helping them see the Kingdom in a new light. This is why having fun, enjoying life, and celebrating people, food, art, music, recreation, and rest become so critical in seeing friends find God.

Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community

 

 

A NEXT STEP

According to authors Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, it’s normal to feel some tension related to “living out.” Living on mission can be challenging. It isn’t always immediately clear what we’re supposed to do.

For some of that tension, it’s important to remind ourselves that keeping track of the results is not our job. In fact, the only tension we should carry is the tension of responsibility.

Use the following ideas from the authors to get out of your house with the purpose of connecting someone.

  • Spend some time with a friend who is having a rough week.
  • Take your kids to a park or playground where there are other families to build relationships with.
  • Help a neighbor with a project or chore.
  • Using a hobby or personal interest, find a way to make new relationships with sojourners.
  • Invite others to join a personal or family meal.
  • Respond willingly to at least one interruption that comes along this week.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 134-2, released December 2019


 

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 “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

August Special: When you purchase a SUMS Remix annual subscription during the month of August, you will also receive a PDF containing all seven issues of SUMS Remix that have a “hospitality in the home” theme. The PDF will be emailed to you after purchase.

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<

How Meals Embody and Enact Our Mission

Note: During the month of August, I will be going back to previous SUMS Remix issues relating to hospitality in the home that have not been published here on the Wednesday Weekly Reader. Why? In these crazy times, we could all use a refresher in how to be a better neighbor. I’m also posting these to support an Auxano initiative during the month of August, Building Bridges to our Neighbors.


The heart of God’s purpose for humankind is relationships – first, with God Himself; then, with one another. Arguably, there is no better place to build relationships than at the table with good food and great conversation.

Len Sweet, in his book From Tablet to Table states it eloquently:

Remember God’s first command in the Bible? Eat.

Remember God’s last command in the Bible? Drink.

And everything in between is a table – a life-course meal on which is served the very bread of life and cup of salvation.

It’s time to bring back the table to our homes, to our churches, and to our neighborhoods and the world.

The table is a recurring biblical theme, one that our fast-paced, drive-through, Instant Pot culture finds unfamiliar.

What would happen if we brought back the table as a sacred object of furniture in every home, church, and community?

Are we truly hungry to accept Jesus’ invitation –  “Come and follow” – and to go wherever He leads, even if it means next door?

Especially if it means following Him next door!

What would it take for the table to return to the center of our family lives – and by extension, to those God has placed in our circle and situations?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – A Meal with Jesus: Discussing Grace, Community, and Mission Around the Table by Tim Chester

The meals of Jesus represent something bigger. They represent a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook.

Tim Chester brings to light God’s purposes in the seemingly ordinary act of sharing a meal―how this everyday experience is really an opportunity for grace, community, and mission. Chester challenges contemporary understandings of hospitality as he urges us to evaluate why and who we invite to our table. Learn how you can foster grace and bless others through the rich fare being served in A Meal with Jesus.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION 

Food matters. Meals matter. Meals are full of significance.

Food connects. It connects us with family. It turns strangers into friends. And it connects us with people around the world.

Our relationship with food is ambiguous. Television chefs have become celebrities and cookbooks regularly appear on bestseller lists. Yet we cook less than ever before. Americans spend over $50 billion on dieting each year – $50 billion to solve the problem of food gone wrong.

American Christians spend more on dieting than on world missions. We spend more on overconsumption than we do feeding the physically and spiritually hunger of the world.

We express who we want to be through food. Guess what? Jesus did too.

How did Jesus come? He came eating and drinking.

This is how Luke describes Jesus’ mission strategy: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking.” (Luke 7:34)

Jesus’ mission strategy was a long meal, stretching into the evening. He did evangelism and discipleship around a table with some grilled fish, a loaf of bread, and a pitcher of wine.

Luke’s Gospel is full of stories of Jesus eating with people:

Meals as Enacted Grace: In Luke 5, Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners at the home of Levi.

Meals as Enacted Community: In Luke 7, Jesus is anointed at the home of Simon the Pharisee during a meal.

Meals as Enacted Hope: In Luke 9, Jesus feeds the five thousand.

Meals as Enacted Mission: In Luke 14, Jesus is at a meal when he urges people to invite the poor to their meals rather than their friends.

Meals as Enacted Salvation: In Luke 22, we have the account of the Last Supper.

Meals as Enacted Promise: In Luke 24, the risen Christ has a meal with two disciples in Emmaus, and then later eats fish with the disciples in Jerusalem.

So the meals of Jesus represent something bigger. They represent a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook. But they give that new reality substance.

They represent friendship, community, and welcome.

Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus: Discussing Grace, Community, and Mission Around the Table

A NEXT STEP

Devote an extended period of time over several weeks to the Bible passages listed above. In your journal or digital notes, create separate pages for each of the passages.

As you spend time reading and praying through them, write down what God is revealing to you, not only in personal growth but also in practical application.

Hospitality involves welcoming, creating space, listening, paying attention, and providing. Meals slow things down. Some of us don’t like that – we like to get things done.

However, meals force you to be people-oriented instead of task-oriented. Sharing a meal is not the only way to build relationships, but it is number one on the list.

Grace, mission, and community are never enacted best through programs, but rather through the equality and acceptance experienced at the common table.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 103-3, released October 2018.


 

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 “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

August Special: When you purchase a SUMS Remix annual subscription during the month of August, you will also receive a PDF containing all seven issues of SUMS Remix that have a “hospitality in the home” theme. The PDF will be emailed to you after purchase.

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<

Remembering My Father, Celebrating Book Lover’s Day

August 9 is birthdate of my father, who was born in 1927.

It’s also Book Lover’s Day.

Those two seemingly incongruent circumstances actually have a powerful connection for me.

After suffering a major stroke on February 10, 2012, my father passed away on February 25. By the time I was able to get back to Tennessee to see him, he had lost motor functions and speech capacity. Over the few days I was there, the slow but steady decline continued.

I had last seen him during the Christmas holidays. While there, I spent some time alone at home with him. After suffering a series of strokes over the past several years, he could no longer read – but the legacy of his reading lines the bookshelves all over my boyhood home. In the quiet hours when everyone was asleep, I scanned the shelves and remembered hearing him talk about this book or that one. I pulled a few off the shelf, and opening them, was instantly transported back in time to a conversation about the subject, or to memories of the event itself.

I’ve been a reader of books since, well, before I can remember. My father was an avid reader, and he passed that passion along to me at an early age. Even though he worked 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, he often spent several hours reading at night. He insisted my mother take my brother and me to the library in the next town and check out books – every two weeks. I would get the maximum number of books, take them home, and read them – usually in the first day or two. Then it would be an impatient wait till the next library trip.

Reading is a passion I treasure, and one that I am thankful my father instilled in me.

Sunday 8/9 will be Book Lover’s Day – not an official holiday but one I eagerly celebrate. Book reading is a great hobby. It’s an important one, too. Employers look for it on resumes. Reading is educational, informative, and relaxing. It makes us both smarter and happier people.

Book Lovers Day is a great day to celebrate. Just grab an interesting book, find a quiet, cozy place, and crack open the cover. Celebrating Book Lovers Day in August is pleasurable on the deck, under a shady tree, poolside, or in a cozy hammock. If you fall asleep while reading, that’s okay. It’s all part of the relaxing benefits of being a book lover.

I’m also celebrating this Book Lover’s Day as a part of my vocation – Vision Room Curator and Digital Engagement Leader at Auxano. My role requires me to read – a lot – and then write book excerpts, Tweets, Facebook posts, and blogs about what I’m reading. During a recent conversation with a teammate, I was able to pull a half-dozen book titles off the top of my head when asked for recommendations on books about a specific topic that helped him work with a client. That’s part of the benefit of reading!

I love my job!

Here’s an example:

I love (and practice) the 4 different levels of reading as espoused by Mortimer Adler in his great book, How to Read a Book, but I really like to latch onto a topic and practice Syntopical Reading. Also known as comparative reading, it is where many books are read, and placed in relation to one another and to a subject about which they all revolve.

For the last several months, that topic has been “Hospitality in the Home,” and my current tower shelf of syntopical reading in the topic is at 127 books – and I’ve still got some more coming in!

In addition to the pure enjoyment of reading on the subject, these books formed the basis of a month-long emphasis at Auxano entitled “Building Bridges to Your Neighbors.” The content produced by this reading includes two emails, two feature articles, a webinar, an eBook, and countless social media posts.

Here’s a partial view of those books; the tower is out of room and another dozen or so are on a nearby file cabinet:

In addition to this special project, another ongoing syntopical project of sorts is SUMS Remix.

Issue #151, shipping next week, is the most recent one, published every two weeks over the last six years. Those 151 issues represent 452 books. The format of SUMS Remix is simple: one problem statement faced by church leaders, 3 brief excepts from books that provide a solution to the problem, and 3 ready-to-use applications for leaders to try out immediately. You can find out more and purchase an annual subscription to SUMS Remix here.

With an issue published every two weeks, a two-week production cycle, and a two-week preparation phase, at any given time I’m working on at least 4 SUMS Remix issues, which means there are 12 books on my front burner.

And that’s just for SUMS Remix reading…

Then there’s current reading for Auxano social media (Tweets, Instagram, and Facebook posts), preparation for Guest Experience development and consultations, other writing projects, and believe it or not, reading just for the pleasure of reading – a nightly occurrence. Currently a few topics I’m reading in include restaurants, food, and related areas; the psychology behind our bias; the development of U.S. culture from the 1600s through today; and of course, there’s always some Disney history in the mix!

So, on Book Lover’s Day, and in memory of my father, I’m trying to emulate Thomas Edison, who believed that voracious reading was the key to self-improvement. He read books on a remarkable range of subjects to address his endless queries. As Edison noted, “I didn’t read a few books, I read the library.”


If you want to know more about my dad, here is the eulogy I gave at his funeral. After the funeral, while my sons and I were moving some things around his gas station, I discovered one reason I am so passionate about guest experiences. And read this post to find out why readers are leaders.

How are you celebrating Book Lover’s Day?

How to Learn by Listening

One of the things many growing organizations have trouble with is alignment and communication – from both a cultural and “business” standpoint. This may be the result of physically distributed teams or simply rapid growth. The larger an organization grows and the more distributed it becomes, the harder it is to make sure that there is a healthy relational dimension in our communication across the organization. Even in a small organization, understanding the importance of relational connection takes communication to the next level.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Leading Loyalty by Sandy Rogers, Leena Rinne, and Shawn Moon

In business, if people merely like you, you’re in trouble. They need to love you! Learn how building loyalty and modeling great customer service behavior to develop frontline teams is the key to building raving fans.

To thrive in today’s economy, it’s not enough for customers to merely like you. They have to love you. Win their hearts and they will not only purchase more—they’ll talk you up to everyone they know.

But what turns casual customers into passionate promoters? What makes people stick with you for the long haul?

The industry experts at Franklin Covey set out to unlock the mysteries of gaining the customer’s loyalty. In an extensive study that involved 1,100 stores and thousands of people, they isolated examples that stood out in terms of revenues and profitability. They found that these “campfire stores” burned brighter than the rest thanks to fiercely loyal customers and the employees who delight in making their customers’ lives easier.

Now Leading Loyalty reveals the principles and practices of these everyday service heroes—the customer-facing employees who cultivate bonds and lift revenues through the roof. Full of eye-opening examples and practical tools, Leading Loyalty helps you infuse empathy, responsibility, and generosity into every interaction and:

  • Make warm, authentic connections
  • Ask the right questions
  • Listen to learn
  • Discover the real job to be done
  • Take ownership of the customer’s issue
  • Follow up and strengthen the relationship
  • Share insights openly and kindly
  • Surprise people with unexpected extras
  • Model, teach, and reinforce these essential behaviors through weekly team huddles

It’s time to invest in building loyalty. Even small improvements mean a big boost to your bottom line…and improves your business overall.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

You would think listening would be easy. After all, we spend a good chunk of our lives doing it. We listened to our parents when we were children. We listened to our teachers in school. We listen to the radio in the car, and we listen to the TV while we are watching it.

But even though we have done it for so long, and even though we do it now, many of us don’t. Not really.

We hear sounds, but there is a difference between hearing things that happen to be around us at a given moment and actively, intentionally listening. The first happens without effort; the second comes through discipline and practice, and this is where we often fail. We find ourselves, especially when we are hearing something or someone we don’t agree with, not really listening but instead tolerating sound, just waiting for our own chance to talk.

There is a downside to efficiency when we’re working with human beings – we may neglect to take time to empathize and really listen.

The skill we are focused on here is not only listening to hear, but also listening to learn.

On a personal level, when we fail to listen, we not only miss the opportunity to show empathy and earn loyalty by connecting and learning from someone’s story, but we also fail to fulfill the greatest human need: to feel understood.

By making a genuine human connection with people and listening to learn, we uncover their story, which then allows us to feel and convey empathy.

By using the skill of listening to learn, you learn more about the other person’s story, and doing so enables you to show empathy. Listening to learn is not just a mechanical skill. It’s the result of really wanting to learn, of caring enough about another person to connect and listen for a moment.

Listening to learn comes from a heartfelt desire to truly understand other people. The more we understand, the more we can help them, the more loyal they become. The listening-to-learn behavior is rooted in the principle of empathy because it is about fully understanding and empathizing with the story of another.

Sandy Rogers, Leena Rinne, and Shawn Moon, Leading Loyalty

A NEXT STEP

Listening is important. It’s more than just a skill. In fact, it might well be worth considering, if we have trouble listening, the real reason why it’s so difficult.

A starting point? Listen to understand people without worrying or thinking about how to answer.

Who is someone on your team who excels at making genuine connection with others through listening? Ask them to share their “secrets” for listening with your whole team.

Following that, discuss the following questions:

  • What are we really trying to learn by listening?
  • Which of the following “Listen to Learn” guidelines do you need to improve on?
    • Stay silent until the person has finished talking.
    • Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart.
    • Don’t worry about how to answer – focus on understanding.
    • Rephrase what was said and check for understanding.
  • What does it mean to “listen with our ears, eyes, and heart”?
  • How do we check for understanding without solving the problem?

For a leader, listening is perhaps the most important skill of all. As a leader, we must learn to listen while navigating along with the person speaking toward a common destination – mutual understanding.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 121-2, released June 2019.


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 “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<

Seven Trends of the New Retirement Mindset

Many leaders view retirement – whether a few years or a few decades away – as a finish line.

But increasingly these leaders, especially for those who are closer to retirement, are finding that being too young to retire but too old to find a job has become a critical issue.

Will Heath, Succession Specialist, writes in his upcoming book, “There comes a point in every ministry leader’s life when their greatest contribution and source of influence shifts from the performance of tasks to protection and mentoring.”

In other words, retirement isn’t the last great thing a leader does. It is the gateway to a leader’s greatest season of influence.

We may live ten years longer than our parents and may even work twenty years longer, yet power is moving to those ten years younger.

Are leaders in this age group facing a decades long “irrelevancy gap”?

THE QUICK SUMMARYI’m Not Done, by Patti Temple Rocks

When it comes to discrimination in the workplace, we’ve come a long way as a society. But there’s still one systemically ignored form of discrimination that happens all the time, and it affects everyone: ageism. 

Ageism is real. It’s widespread, insidious, and up until now, it’s been largely hidden, due to the low rate of reporting from those who are pushed out of their jobs when they reach a certain age. With the largest demographic America has ever seen–baby boomers–now experiencing age discrimination at work, it’s time to talk about this deeply hurtful and bad-for-business practice.

In I’m Not Done, Patti Temple Rocks takes a deep dive into ageism in the workplace–what it looks like, how it harms people and businesses alike, and how business leaders can get on the right side of the issue. Patti’s story, and the stories of those like her, creates a powerful declaration and a movement to stop this last remnant of workplace discrimination in its tracks: #I’mNotDone!

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Imagine a world where there is no longer a preconceived notion about what age someone becomes irrelevant or undervalued. What if, like every other form of inclusion, you were valued just because you were valuable?

Imagine a world where nobody feels the pressure to leave an organization before they are ready to leave, and age is taken off the table as a marker for retirement.

Older employees offer a wealth of value. They are, quite literally, a treasure to any organization. They have life experiences and work experiences that can absolutely meld with youth and new ideas and technologies. Imagine an organization that leveraged this experience and wisdom, that blended its workforce into a truly diverse, agile, intelligent, cohesive and kind organization.

What if you put as much thought into the end of your career as you did in the beginning, and it didn’t have to be kept a secret until the day you gave notice?

There are more older Americans in the workplace than ever before. And they’re accomplishing more than any generation before them. Because older workers are staying in their careers longer, a new paradigm is emerging. Here are seven key trends I see in the new Baby Boomer mindset.

The Wise Boomer

Boomers don’t see themselves as old, in either mind or body. They want to be appreciated for the knowledge and skills they’ve gained over a lifetime, and want to contribute in meaningful ways, including the ability to pass along their wisdom and life experience.

Sixty is (Really) the New Fifty

Boomers are intent on re-inventing aging in their own fun-loving image, going back to school, launching businesses, and running marathons. They don’t know the concept of “age-appropriate,” and they still feel great.

The “I Got This” Attitude

Long defined by their independent, trailblazing approach to life, Boomers are resistant to receiving support that threatens their autonomy. Their Millennial children don’t always understand this.

What Retirement?

Boomers look at retirement completely differently from previous generations. Boomers like having an impact in every way they can, and will be as creative as they need to be in finding opportunities.

No Moving Truck Required

Many Boomers are choosing to stay closer to home to remain connected to others – particularly their children and grandchildren, so they can stay active in their lives. They are also totally comfortable jumping on a plane and finding an Airbnb when they crave a little sunshine.

Constantly Connected

Boomers are readily adapting technology and using social media just as much as younger generations do. In fact, they are much more likely to share, advocate, and influence others online.

Proud…Just Not Always Out Loud

While Boomers are often justifiably proud of how young they look, feel, and act, sometimes that results in an effort, conscious or otherwise, to disguise their actual age.

Patti Temple Rocks, I’m Not Done

A NEXT STEP

Almost all ambitious young people spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the early stages of their career. Most don’t give a single thought to managing the tail end of their career. That’s a shame, because navigating the last ten years of a career can be even more difficult than the first ten.

It doesn’t matter what your age is now – the fact is, at some point you will “retire” from working. The seven trends above are both instructive for Baby Boomers rapidly approaching retirement – and younger leaders whose retirement may be years away.

Real magic happens when organizations make a concerted effort to incorporate age into their diversity initiatives. When a team is made up of younger “digital natives” who grew up on the Internet and social media, along with more senior employees who have decades of industry experience, there is a synergy of talents and abilities. Everyone learns from one another. That combination of wisdom, experience, and youth is powerful.

If you are lucky to serve on an age-diverse team, set aside some time in a future team meeting to discuss the seven trends listed above, both as a present reality and a future event.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 122-1, released July 2019


 

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 “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<

Become a Better Leader Through Balancing Differences

Leadership training and development in our military takes place on two fronts. First, officers identify, build, and utilize the skills that will allow individuals and teams to effectively and efficiently achieve their goal. Second, officers focus on training methods and techniques that will allow those same individuals and teams to practice effective combat and leadership skills in the fields.

The same types of leadership training and development can also serve leaders in your organization – beginning with you.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

With their first book, Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin set a new standard for leadership, challenging readers to become better leaders, better followers, and better people, in both their professional and personal lives.

Now, in The Dichotomy of LeadershipJocko and Leif dive even deeper into the unchartered and complex waters of a concept first introduced in Extreme Ownership: finding balance between the opposing forces that pull every leader in different directions. Here, Willink and Babin get granular into the nuances that every successful leader must navigate.

Mastering the Dichotomy of Leadership requires understanding when to lead and when to follow; when to aggressively maneuver and when to pause and let things develop; when to detach and let the team run and when to dive into the details and micromanage. In addition, every leader must:

  • Take Extreme Ownership of everything that impacts their mission; yet utilize Decentralize Command by giving ownership to their team. 
  • Care deeply about their people and their individual success and livelihoods, yet look out for the good of the overall team and above all accomplish the strategic mission. 
  • Exhibit the most important quality in a leader―humility, but also be willing to speak up and push back against questionable decisions that could hurt the team and the mission.

With examples from the authors’ combat and training experiences in the SEAL teams, and then a demonstration of how each lesson applies to the business world, Willink and Babin clearly explain THE DICHOTOMY OF LEADERSHIPskills that are mission-critical for any leader and any team to achieve their ultimate goal: VICTORY.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

The most difficult – and essential – element of leadership requires finding the balance between opposing forces that exist for every leader.

The list of dichotomies is infinite. Because for every positive behavior a leader should have, it is possible to take that behavior to the extreme, where it becomes a negative. Often a leader’s greatest strength can also be his or her greatest weakness. But knowing and understanding that these dichotomies exist is the first part of keeping them from becoming a problem.

A good leader builds powerful, strong relationships with his or her subordinates. But while that leader would do anything for those team members, the leader must recognize there is a job to do. And that job might put the very people the leader cares so much about at risk.

The key is balance, maintaining an equilibrium where your team have the guidance to execute but at the same time freedom to make decisions and lead.

There are limitless dichotomies in leadership, and a leader must carefully balance between these opposite forces. But none are as difficult as this: to care deeply for each individual member of the team, while at the same time accepting the risks necessary to accomplish the mission.

This dichotomy reveals itself in the civilian sector as well as the military. This is one of the most difficult dichotomies to balance, and it can be easy to go too far in either direction. If leaders develop overly close relationships with their people, they may not be willing to make those people do what is necessary to compete a project or a task. They may not have the wherewithal to lay off individuals with who they have relationship even if it is the right move for the good of the company. And some leaders get so close to their people that they don’t want to have hard conversations with them – they don’t want to tell them that they need to improve.

On the other hand, if a leader is too detached from the team, he or she may overwork, overexpose, or otherwise harm its members while achieving no significant value from that sacrifice. The leader may be too quick to fire people to save a buck, thereby developing the reputation of not caring about the team beyond its ability to support the strategic goals.

So leaders must find the balance. They must push hard without pushing too hard. They must drive their team to accomplish the mission without driving them off a cliff.

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, The Dichotomy of Leadership

A NEXT STEP

In order for leaders to find the balance described above, authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin had developed two checklists: one with common symptoms resulting from a leader being too close to a team, and the other which indicates a leader might be too hands-off with his team.

Reproduce each of the two lists below on separate chart tablets, and review them first by yourself. Add to the lists as needed.

Then, bring the sheets into your next team meeting for a general team discussion about this dichotomy of leadership.

Too Close to Your Team

  1. Bold and aggressive action becomes rare.
  2. Creativity grinds to a halt.
  3. Even in an emergency, the team will not mobilize and take action.
  4. The team shows a lack of initiative; members will not take action unless directed.
  5. An overall sense of passivity and failure to react.

Too Far Away from Your Team

  1. Lack of vision in what the team is trying to do and how to do it.
  2. Lack of coordination between individuals on the team and efforts that often compete or interfere with each other.
  3. Initiative oversteps the bounds of authority; individuals and teams carry out actions beyond what they have authorization to do.
  4. The team is focused on the wrong priority mission or pursuit of solutions that are not in keeping with the strategic direction of the team.
  5. There are too many people trying to lead.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 119-2, released May 2019


 

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 “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<

How to Engage Your Team Through Affirmation

One of the things many growing organizations have trouble with is alignment and communication – from both a cultural and “business” standpoint. This may be the result of physically distributed teams or simply rapid growth. The larger an organization grows and the more distributed it becomes, the harder it is to make sure that there is a healthy relational dimension in our communication across the organization. Even in a small organization, understanding the importance of relational connection takes communication to the next level.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Win the Heart by Mark Miller

Employee engagement is shockingly low–but it’s not an employee problem; it’s a leadership problem. Bestselling author Mark Miller says it’s up to leaders to create a workplace where their employees truly want to be – and he reveals four keys to doing it.

Every great company has an engaged workforce, and nurturing a culture of engagement is at the heart of great leadership – employees who really care about their work, their coworkers, and the organization can supercharge a company’s success. But for many years, engagement has been suffering. Gallop reports that 70 percent of employees are not fully engaged on the job. Mark Miller draws on more than forty years of leadership experience to show leaders at all levels how to change the conversation and create real competitive advantage in the process.

In the fourth book in Miller’s High Performance Series, CEO Blake Brown sets out to discover how to create the kind of workplace where everyone feels excited to come to work, passionate about what he or she brings to the company, and energized at the end of the day. It’s a journey that takes him literally all over the world–from Italy to Greece to Green Bay and more. What he discovers from the pages of history is as relevant as the evening news. 

Engagement unleashes untapped potential buried deep within the hearts of your people. An engaged workforce is more creative, more driven, and more enthusiastic about reaching company goals. If you put the lessons in this book to work, your people will never look at work, or their leaders, the same way again.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

When your team members are made to feel that they matter, they develop self-confidence and self-esteem, and that translates to positive results. Team members who are not treated as if they mattered perform as if their jobs don’t matter either.

When you recognize, appreciate, and encourage your team members, they will in turn share those affirmations with others, resulting in a better team and organization culture.

Genuine affirmation, from the heart, tends to connect with the heart.

We actually do a lot of things behind the scenes so you can have a consistently amazing experience.

  • It starts with leadership – no organization drifts to greatness.
  • We have to select the right people and be sure they are aligned on what matters most – this is a never-ending challenge, but without it, everything is so much harder. Some things even become impossible without everyone pulling in the same direction.
  • We have to be sure people are fully engaged and focused on execution. If they aren’t engaged, there’s no way we’ll deliver consistently. We want excellence to be the norm, not a random occurrence.

The two-word secret to engagement: “Thank you.” We want every employee to know how much we value his or her energy and effort, so we thank you a lot.

We say thank you when we see an employee doing their work with excellence; we say thank you when we observe someone going above and beyond our already high standards; we say thank you when we see our people living out our core values; we even say thank you for a team member’s contributions at the end of every shift.

Mark Miller, Win the Heart

A NEXT STEP

Do you say “thank you” to your team members often enough – or at all?

Here’s a starter list of 10 ideas to say “thank you” to team members. Use this list as a starter to complete a chart tablet of at least 30 ways to say thank you – and use at least one every day for the next month.

Wall of fame – Create a wall of fame featuring images of team members; be sure to include what they did that you are recognizing them for.

Praise often – Praise your team members quickly – as soon as you notice an action that is praiseworthy.

Give the gift of wellness – Give out passes to a yoga studio or gym. Healthy team members feel better about themselves and add value to the team.

Have fun – Reward your team after the conclusion of a special season or event with a fun outing. It not only says thanks but encourages team participation and bonding.

Sticky notes – The adult version of the affirming lunch note to your child! Leave notes on their desks or work areas, saying thanks and explaining why.

Random gifts – Who doesn’t like surprises? Give team members small gifts with a note saying thanks.

Acknowledge team members in meetings – When team members have a great idea, perform above and beyond the expectations, or something worthy of mentioning – be sure to acknowledge them in front of their peers.

Appreciate personal wins – When a team member achieves a personal milestone in their lives, celebrate with them in your work environment.

Celebrate birthdays – Make their birthday a special day in some way.

Write a note – A personal, handwritten note is always a special gesture. Mail it to your team member’s home, so their family can see it and celebrate too.

It’s your turn!


 

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 “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here<<