Just listened to an audio book on the way back from South Carolina called the Generosity Factor by Ken Blanchard and Truett Cathy and it was off the hook. I love redeeming drive time when I drive alone so I usually listen to books or leadership talks. I had this trip all planned out, it was two John Maxwell books (Winning Attitude and 360 Leader). I have been looking forward to these books for a while. Long story short, ipod dead, computer dead so I was forced to more primitive means of listening. I had some cd’s (yes they still make those) in my truck and the Generosity Factor was the winner (on a side note, I put the cd in when I pulled out of the driveway in SC. I changed to disc 2 in Lumberton and when I pulled into my driveway the book ended. Weird).
I love Ken Blanchard books, they are usually parables and they keep my attention. This one was told in story form and was good. Here were some of the highlights for me.
- The Generosity Factor is a formula of some sorts and here is the formula:
- He owns it all (God)
- Everyday is a new opportunity – look for new ways to impact others lives through your generosity
- Action is required – it is one thing to think about something but it another thing to actually do it
- Remember your blessings – not just the material ones, but health, family, life lessons
- Thank Him (God) – This is a reminder that we are not at the center of our universe and we are not all that self sufficient.
- This book had a fresh perspective on Success vs. Significance and on using your time, talent and treasures generously.
Just got back from doing Christmas in South Carolina and I love going down there each year. I think the thing I love most is how simple things are in my wife’s hometown. You will find no coffee shop’s in this town, no hot spots, no mall, no off ramps. If people in this town have holes in their jeans, it’s because they have had them for a long time. I don’t think they sell a lot of hair gel there for some reason and I get my fill of deer meat while I am there (had deer sausage for breakfast, deer tenderloin wrapped in bacon for lunch and dinner).
I love driving by the dog pen (my wife’s dad trains beagles) on the way to the cabin (an unheated house like place where we eat three times a day and exchange gifts). I love seeing my kids have fun with their cousins and extended family. I love it after the smoke has cleared and the kids end up out side doing something primitive like throwing rocks or a football or something like that.
What is funny is we do this every year but this year I am more thankful for how simple life is in Cheraw than ever before and I am thankful for my wife’s parents for being so relational.
Just read a book called The Starfish And The Spider. This was a business book that contrasted companies that have centralized leadership (spiders) and decentralized leadership (starfish). Spiders have eight legs coming out of a central body and a tiny head and if you chop the head off of the spider it dies. Starfish on the other hand do not have heads and all major organs are replicated throughout it’s arms.
The book talks about the benifits of being an organization that is decentralize (ie. has a very flat structure and everyone has ownership) as well as the weaknesses and how to do a combo of the two.
Personally I probably lean more toward the centralized structure but this book definitely made me think of the benefits of decentralizing different aspects of the church. Here are a few of the things I highlighted:
- When no one is in charge, you’d think there would be disorder, even chaos. But in many arena’s, a lack of traditional leadership is giving rise to powerful groups that are turning the industry and society upside down.
- (History Lesson) – The Spanish easily defeated the Aztec’s and the Incas (which had a centralize leadership structure) after they killed their leaders, but when they faced the Apaches, they were defeated (Apaches had a decentralize structure and were harder to defeat).
- An open system (decentralized) doesn’t have centralized intelligence; the intelligence is spread throughout the system
- Open systems can easily mutate.
- Decentralized organizations can grow quickly and take over an industry overnight.
- As industries become decentralized, overall revenues decrease.
- Some examples of decentralize organizations are:
- Skype, Craigslist, Wikipedia (these are interesting to read about)
- Quote – “put people into an open system and they’ll automatically want to contribute”.
- When you give people freedom, you get chaos, but you also get incredible creativity. Because everyone tries to contribute, you get a variety of expressions.
- Instead of rules there are norms. Members of these groups enforce the norms with one another.
- Another characteristic is that these groups have what are called catalyst. Catalyst gets things going then cedes control to the members. In letting go of the leadership role the catalyst transfers ownership and responsibility to the group.
- Once people gain a right to property, they quickly seek out a centralized system to protect their interests. The moment you introduce property rights into the equation, everything changes: the starfish quickly becomes a spider.
- Starfish systems are wonderful incubators for creative, destructive, innovative or crazy ideas.
- Managing a decentralized network requires someone who is a cheerleader, architect and awestruck observer.
Jeff, had a blog today where he mentioned “cup check” and me in the same sentence. The cup he is referring to is not one you drink out of but one that protects a guys important parts while he participates in sports. In junior high I had a coach named Coach Tolar who always did this thing called “cup check”. As we would get off of the bus on game day, he would stand at the door with this massive amount of keys on a lariat and he would proceed to swing it the area where your cup should be to make sure you were wearing your cup. The intent was to force you to wear your cup so you wouldn’t get hurt, but if you weren’t wearing your cup you got very hurt. Thanks for looking after our best interest coach! Anyway, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million (this guy could have used coach Tolar).
Before I post anything else, I feel like I need to confess something. I don’t enjoy reading, not even a little bit (somebody pick Jeff up off the floor). I get easily distracted, I am thinking about twenty things that I need to be doing, I have to reread half of what I have already read to learn anything. BUT (big but), I absolutely am absorbed with learning. I love to learn about new things, new inventions, new strategies of how to do things, leadership principles, all that.
This may sound lazy but I do dig audio books, I have read way more books this way than the conventional way and probably my favorite method of learning is the see and do. The way God wired me is that if I see it I can do it, or make it, or tell someone how to.
Because I dislike reading but I love to learn I had to find a solution to my delima and here they are:
- I force myself to read important stuff (Bible, Leadership Books, etc.)
- I get audio books when they are available (this section is growing in itunes)
- I subscibe to this thing called Executive Book Summaries. They read the best books and summarize them in 8 pages and they also do an audio version of the summary (utopia)
- I read blogs of people who are pace setters
So if you see me posting on a bunch of books in a short period of time, chances are that I either listened to the audio or did the summary thing or they were really, really good.
We had a special dinner tonight for all those people who served at Lifepoint in 2006 and it was a blast. We had 60 people there and the energy was high. I am so excited about what is going on in our church and in peoples lives. If you are one of the Dream Team members at Lifepoint, thanks, you make it all happen.
Jeff, shared some highlights for 2006 tonight and as he talked about the 60 people who surrendered their lives to Christ this year at Lifepoint, all I could think about is the over 65 Dream Team members getting shoulder to shoulder every weekend so these people could meet God. From the people who make the website appealing to the person who pulls the first case off the trailer and the army of people who carry people from the parking lot to their seats all of you play a role in people starting a never ending relationship with Jesus. THANKS, THANKS, THANKS!!!!!!
And for those people out their who can’t figure out where to utilize your spiritual gifts, just link arms with one of these guys or gals and point people to Jesus!!!
I got an email last night from a friend whos son is in Iraq serving our country. He is 21 years on and has been there for two weeks. He lost his best friend this week and four others from his group. The oldest was 26 and one of them was from North Carolina.
I have to admit until I got this email last night, I had pushed these guys and gals to a part of my heart and brain that I don’t visit much (maybe Veteran’s Day, 4th of July, and a few minutes before a ballgame or race). After I got the email, I did a little reading about what is going on in Iraq. Since the war started we have lost 2929 USA soldiers. Just this month 38 have already died. Here is a link to the names of each of them. 56% of all of those killed are under age 25, the number one group was just 21.
If you are a soldier and you stumble across this, I am sorry that I don’t think about and pray for you more. I wake up everyday, thank God for another day, kiss my wife and kids and go about my day. I can do this because because of two freedoms. One is the freedom that these men and woman risk their life for everyday, this one is not free at all but it very costly. The other is a freedom that I have through my relationship with Christ. The bible says in John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. Through my relationship with Christ I am free from death, free from any bondage of this world and free from fear. Just like the first freedom, this one is free for me but cost someone else their life.
I am so Blessed and thankful. Thank you Armed Forces and thank you Jesus!