Monthly Archives: January 2017

THREE R’S TO HELP BALANCE TIME AND PRIORITIES

Decision making in life is critical. It can help lead to tremendous success or epic failure in your job, career, family, friendships, etc.. There are several important topics for every generation; however, a focus on priorities, decision making and time management seem to become more and more crucial every decade. Today, in the age of the smartphone and social media, even technology has joined the fight for our most precious commodity: TIME!

A few years ago I came up with three critical questions on priorities that I still seek to adhere to today. They still serve me well, and I hope they’re valuable to you. Before any decision on where to invest my time, this is what I ask myself:

What is REQUIRED of me? Any realistic assessment of priorities in any area of life must start with a realistic assessment of what you must do. For you to be a good spouse or parent, what is required of you? To satisfy your employer, what must you do? If you lead others, then what must you personally do that cannot be delegated to anyone else? In life, something is required of us daily. Figure out what that Looks like for you.

What gives me the greatest RETURN? As you progress in your career, you begin to discover that some activities yield a much higher return for the effort than others. After determining the requirements, focus on choices with a high return on investment (ROI). Choices = Lifestyle. What you put in is what you will get out.

What gives me the greatest REWARD? If you do only what you must, along with what is effective, then you will probably be highly productive. But you may not be content. I think it’s also important to consider what gives you personal satisfaction. As long as that personal satisfaction does not violate your character, integrity and conduct. Acquiring great rewards is tremendous – as long as it’s gained in the right way, with the right heart.

These questions are meant to be asked IN ORDER. Many of us would love to skip down to #3 and focus on the most rewarding/fun/exciting activities. But no one can be successful who doesn’t possess the discipline to take care of the first two areas before adding the third. If you can’t answer these three in order, it’s ok to say NO to whatever you are considering to take on.

The time that you and I have on this earth is precious – every minute of it. I read a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, he said “Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”  

I challenge and encourage you to let your life be a bright gem in a useful life.

Have a great week, and manage your time and your life well based around these three priorities.

s2s,

Kevin

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FOUR VITAL LEADERSHIP BLIND-SPOTS

Last weekend while traveling on the interstate there was a car traveling in the lane next to me. I had no idea it was there until I looked in my blind spot driver side mirror. That mirror served the purpose it was created to do. In a similar way, leaders have blind spots in their life and leadership. So the question is; Do you have any blind spots?…If you answered no, then you likely know where your blind spot is!

Okay, I think most of us would acknowledge that we all possess blind spots. We assume there must be some areas where we “don’t know what we don’t know.” And we suppose that our personal blind spots have an effect on our lives – quite possibly a negative effect.

However what happens when a leader has blind spots? It affects so many more people than the leader alone. It can have a far-reaching impact — on the leader, his or her followers, family members, and the entire team, department or organization.

Here’s my definition of a blind spot – An area in someone’s life in which he continually fails to see himself or his situation realistically. This unawareness often causes great damage to the person and those around him. 

SO WHAT ARE A FEW BASIC BLIND SPOTS THAT LEADERS CAN DISPLAY?

Narrow Perspective: I have heard it said; “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” Leaders are by nature strategic and action-oriented. They see a problem and move quickly to solve it. Unfortunately, this can result in a narrow focus – even tunnel vision. It’s important for leaders to take a step back in the face of a new problem, so that they search for and find the solution that best fits the situation, not just their own point of view.

Insecurity: Insecurity by its very nature causes leaders to think only of themselves. But the very essence of leadership is being about others and serving others!

This is a vital, yet sometimes difficult blind spot to recognize in yourself, and even more difficult to overcome. However if you have any of the following red-flags, you might be an insecure leader. And you might need to get help from an objective mentor, pastor or counselor to overcome your insecurity. Red-flags of leadership insecurity could include:

·      Difficulty giving credit to others.

·      Hoarding information.

·      Limiting followers’ exposure to other leaders.

·      Feeling threatened by the growth of others.

·      Micro-managing.

Remember, you can’t lead people if you need people, or if you need to control them.

Unhealthy Ego: I believe pride is a leader’s greatest enemy. Proverbs says: “Pride comes before a fall.” Like insecurity, pride makes the leader all about himself, rather than those he leads. It is the opposite of humility. A prideful leader tends to blame others, live in denial, and be closed-minded and rigid. This results in low morale among followers.

How do you overcome pride? I’ve found that the best antidote to pride is gratitude. When I recognize that I can’t take credit for many of my gifts and the blessings that have come my way, I can feel gratitude. This leads to humility and an ability to give credit and accept blame as needed.

Poor Character: Many people with talent make it into the limelight, but the ones who have neglected to develop strong character rarely stay there long. Absence of strong character eventually topples talent. Why? Because people cannot climb beyond the limitations of their character. Poor character will ruin your trust and influence quickly. To develop your character, you first need to recognize its lack in your life. Usually, all you need to do is compare what you say with what you do. Does your talk match your walk? Wherever they don’t match, that shows a lack of character. Align your values, thoughts, feelings and actions – and your character will be strengthened.

There are other blind spots that affect all of us, however these are four common ones that specifically do damage to a person’s leadership and influence.

It’s worth doing a self-examination, because by discovering and resolving any of these blind spots, a leader can improve their leadership. This will improve morale and increase productivity for the team as a whole. Blind spots can quickly put a lid your leadership. Open your eyes, and your team will go to a new level.

Have a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

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WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?

What if work wasn’t just work?  What if work was a vehicle to live and share a bigger purpose?

I believe there’s a flawed perception in our society today that thinks in order to live a life of purpose we have to leave our jobs and go solve world hunger, feed the homeless, move to Africa, become a missionary or start a charity.

While these are all noble, needed causes with many who are called to do these very things, for others of us our bigger purpose can be found in the here and now, in the jobs we have, right under our noses. For me, it’s a baseball scout. And when we find and live this purpose, it will provide the ultimate fuel for a meaningful life.

You may not build libraries around the world, but you can find the bigger purpose in reading to your children. You may not feed the homeless every day, but you can nourish your employees, another coach or scout, or a customer with a smile, kind word, and care. And while you may not start your own non-profit organization, you can begin a charity initiative at work. After all, “charity” means “love in action.”  Fill in the blank ________. You can have purpose in what you do in your job right now.

Here is what I mean. You can make a difference every day and touch the lives of everyone you meet. While these people may not be starving because of a lack of food, you can provide them with a different kind of nourishment that will feed their souls (and feed you in the process).

For myself, I am a baseball scout; however I have a larger opportunity and focus to impact and influence as many athletes, coaches, parents and scouts I work with and around before I leave this earth.

Quite honestly, I see my self as a “Minister in disguise as a Scout.” It is simply serving the needs of someone else before yourself. That’s it!  Some days I accomplish this goal effectively, while other days I come up short. However that is my purpose and goal in what I do. It is vital that I don’t allow what I do…to define who I am!

I have learned through the years that God chooses to use ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. Usually not the other way around. In any job our purpose waits for us to find it and live it.

I can’t tell you what your purpose should be, or even what it is, however I can tell you that every one of us can find a bigger purpose in the job or career we have.

I can tell you that every job, no matter how glorious or boring it may seem, will get mundane if we let it. Purpose keeps it fresh. And when we are filled with purpose, we tap into an endless supply of energy.

Don’t wait until you go to Africa to start living with a mission. Don’t wait until the weekend to feed people who are hungry. Bring your mission to work, start working for a bigger purpose and nourish others in the process.

I believe the two greatest days in a persons life is the day they were born – and the day they discover (why) they were born. If you haven’t yet, I hope you will soon discover your purpose in life and your career very soon. Be your best!

Make it a great week!

s2s,

Kevin

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“4 X 4” – ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS FOR THE 2017 NEW YEAR

Greetings!

Welcome to 2017. It is my sincere hope and prayer that each of you achieve maximum success in your Physical, Spiritual, Relational and Occupational life and leadership in 2017!

Let me go out on a limb here. You’re probably reading this blog because you’re contemplating resolutions you’re going to set or have set for the New Year, right? You don’t have much confidence in keeping your resolutions because you’ve failed repeatedly in the past (statistics say only 8% of people keep their resolutions), so you’re looking for some “game changing” advice.

Or maybe you’re thinking about the goals you’ve set for your team or organization as the 2017 baseball season is just around the corner. You’re stressed out about how you’re going to actually achieve them. If your experience is similar to mine, you’ve set goals for the year only to look back twelve months later to realize what you accomplished bears little resemblance to what you set out to do. For most of us the challenge is not in setting goals. I mean, we’ve got a ton of priorities on our plates. We’ve got goals aplenty! The difficulty lies in prioritizing goals and staying on track to get them accomplished. Well, at least that’s been my challenge.

There’s a better way to work toward achieving your goals and it’s called the Four x Four Plan – the four most important priorities you need to accomplish over the next four weeks. It’s a method of goal prioritization and execution.

It starts with asking yourself one critically important and fundamental question: What is the greatest contribution I can make to my team / organization in the next four weeks?

In answering that question, consider the decisions, action steps, or activities for which only you can provide the energy and direction. You will likely generate dozens of items on your list that will need to be whittled down to the four that require you to take the lead in order to deliver the most impact.

There is nothing magical in having four priorities over four weeks. It is actually very do-able. What’s important is having a manageable number of goals to accomplish over a relatively short time period. It needs to be a few goals that allow you to keep your energy high and a short enough time period that creates a sense of urgency. Setting big, broad goals for the year is like running a marathon. It’s much too tempting to get overwhelmed, distracted, frustrated or lose energy on goals that seem so distant. It’s much easier to run a series of sprints by focusing on just a few key priorities for a short amount of time.

I think it’s important to emphasize the 4 x 4 method is a helpful “tool” for goal prioritization and execution. It’s not a way to set goals, which is an art and science unto itself. Stick to your plan; because – If you fail to plan then plan to fail. Just keep them short and manageable.

Be YOUR best in 2017!

s2s,

Kevin

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