Trust and Value

[Trust is] the foundational principle that holds all relationships.
-Stephen Covey

trust and value

Trust is the pipeline through which all value moves. I recently wrote on value and the need for value propositions to be made if progress is to be expected. Trust, in my estimation, is a key element in value exchange. Here is the flow as I see it. Imagine a pipe. Through the pipe flows needs and wants in one direction. After, in the opposite direction, flows value. And then consideration returns. Now imagine with me a pipe the size a drinking straw, the cocktail sort. For some reason the other trust is not there. Needs and wants are restricted. The other is guarded with their desires. They not think it in their best interest to open up and share. The result. The first has not the opportunity to help. Even what little they gleam, the straw so small can only receive value in step. Of course consideration is in proportion to value and so the whole thing, the whole process lackluster. Leaving both feeling of what it should have been.

Now image with me a pipe so grand in diameter. Needs and wants are freely shared. Even a hint of a desire is known the other before it is solidified. And value, oh how it can move through this pipeline. Consideration always in proportion leaves both feeling impressed. To put it simply: the more trust; the bigger the pipe. The bigger the pipe; the more desires, value and consideration, which all are in proportion to each other, can flow. It all starts with trust.

Trust, in my estimation, is fundamental to relationships. And business and partnerships are simply relationships. If you ever hear something of the sort, “nothing personal, it’s just business.” This is a hint, in my estimation, that someone does not understand how to move value. That they do not understand business at all.

Are you spending the time building trust that is needed in your business relationship to reach your organization’s goals? How would you measure trust? Perhaps our receipts is a good place to start?

 

-A takeaway from a Mavidea client website UX meeting

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

A Journal Entry: When to Talk

let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
-Saint James

When to talk and when to listen

I have come to keep a journal. Reflections on the day and so on. This morning in my time set aside to blog, thoughts of reflection on a topic that has gone unanswered too long and an idea of resolution consumed me to journal instead. So this week I will share this entry. Names removed, adding in verses for and some of my thoughts that did not make their way to the entry for context, etc:

5.2.15

In the past I have not been sure as to the volume of my speech. In business settings, in the past I have felt like I, in general, have ideas I think will help. So I have always erred the side of sharing them. That said, I have been mindful of God’s word that encourages us not to speak hastefully and in great volume. It has been a point of uncertainty for me. The balance of volume my speech. Should I talk or should I remain silent? Is this a point of pride? That everyone must hear my idea because my idea is so good? Yesterday I had breakfast with one of my mentors. My struggle on the matter came up as we talked about James 1:18-20:

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

I have come to believe this to mean that if we are going to be God’s firstfruits amongst His creatures, if we are going to serve and love our fellow; the formula to make that possible is to be swift to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath. We need to listen to be positioned to love others well. It does not say “do not speak” it says to “be slow to speak.” This I think helps us focus on listening. The opposite thinking about what we are going to say and waiting for the first opportunity to speak, I do not think is slow to speak but rather quick for we have already spoke to ourselves and are just waiting to privy others our thoughts. The question I asked him was how does this work with the gift of speaking and teaching and sharing understanding. He looked at me and smiled. He gave no answer. No word left his tongue. Interesting. Perhaps now I think he may have been teaching me a lesson after all. After breakfast he and I went to visit an old friend of my fathers that was in town from the city on a case, he is a God fearing lawyer, his father was too. I asked him this same question after talking about James 1:19. He said that it was a tough question that he had no answer. He did however afford me a piece of advice his father gave him. ‘It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.’ That is, as I took it, when in doubt remain silent. Still my dilemma remains for my confidence soars in conversation that a particular idea should be shared for the service of those there. Not to my glory of course, that I rescue them with my idea or some nonsense, but instead, should what is shared help; glory be to our God who makes all things known, the Creator of all ideas. I was mowing the lawn last afternoon, preparing our home for a dinner with the families of two business partners where we planned to discuss how to help another in a new venture. As I was mowing the lawn reflecting on the day, I came to this bit of advice that my fathers friend passed to me from his father. ‘When in doubt remain in silence.’ Then a thought flashed in to my mind. 1 Peter 4:10-11:

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

In my estimation, if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow, then speak as it is your duty. This, I think, is when the doubt is removed; that point of balance I had been searching for. When to talk. My father’s friend said something else that I think answers the ‘if’ of the qualifying question above. That is; discerning if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow. I am doing my best to recall and paraphrase his comments, ‘I thrive in hardship.’ He said, ‘It is good for me. To be humbled and know I rely on God. I have no humble bone in my body. God brings me to my knees.’ This sort of revelation has been reoccurring to me as of late years. My complete reliance on God. On God’s Spirit to show me what to do. I think now, God willing, my dilemma in speech will draw me closer to God. Practicing the presence of God. God give me discernment and faith with wisdom, understanding, knowledge. I need Your help God. I depend on You moment by moment. Draw me near You God and draw near me. Show me what to do.

A quick programming note: I want to clarify something that was clear in my mind when writing in my journal but could be taken for granted here. And when I say clear in my mind I do not mean that I have figured this out, only that I have come to believe these things important. These things are things that if, should you believe you are to speak, I do not think should give way to manners and other proverbs addressing our speech. Things like talking in definitives or otherwise squaring off that you are in the right, interrupting and other forms inserting yourself when another is speaking, or dominating a conversation as to not let another contribute. 

 

-A journal entry on speech

  As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

The Two Things

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader success is all about growing others.
-Jack Welch

 jesus-washing-apostles-feet-39588-wallpaper 2

I was asked in an interview “since setting out in business, what lessons [I’ve] learned in leadership?” I shared what I call the two things. They are simple. Simple to understand. Simple to remember. Simple to see why these two things are it. Still they are not so simple to enact without fail. They take sacrifice. Sacrifice at a fundamental level. They take us out of ourselves. Away from us. Less self and more others. A good friend of mine taught me what leaders do. Leaders do two things:

  1. Leaders lead by example
  2. Leaders serve those they lead

Search your experiences and you will hopefully find a leader in your life who does these two things well. One thing to mention here is that anyone can lead. Power is not needed to lead. Authority is not needed to lead. Though power and authority will accrete to those who follow these two things.

Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. – Chinese Proverb

The point duck in formation serves by example. Those that follow benefit from drift. Do you want to be a leader? Are you doing these two things?

 

 -A takeaway from an internrocket.com press interview

 As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Cardinal Virtues: Temperance

Temperance refers to all pleasures, and it means not abstaining, but going the right length and no further.  

-CS Lewis

Businessmen On Their Way To Work

Temperance from the latin temperare meaning restrain or temperantia, moderation. A most useful weapon against the deceiver in times of sorrow. C.S. Lewis suggests in his famous Screwtape Letters that devils deploy indulgence as a strategy when we are down. In the letters Screwtape writes to his demon understudy Wormwood and explains that they need be careful when dealing with indulgences. Pleasures he continues were in fact created by God and so when trying to distort them they are in fact on enemy territory. Screwtape goes on to say, “Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is the least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.”

Temperance is enjoying pleasure within the bound set by God. Not going where God has forbid us to go. It is, of course, best this way. That first piece of cake is always the best and so on. God created good things for us to enjoy and I have come to believe that when we enjoy them properly it brings glory to our Creator. Going too far or a full degree off the intended, perverting the pleasure, is where the deceiver would like us. Focusing on true and false will rescue us. God sends His Word to heal.

C.S Lewis closes a short stop on temperance in Mere Christianity by holding that one of the deceivers worst victories with temperance is its modern restriction to drink. C.S. Lewis notes that the man who makes golf or work the center of his life or a woman who devotes all her thoughts to her appearance or children can be just as intemperate as someone who gets drunk every evening. Of course, these do not show so easily. They do not leave you slurring your words or stumbling in the street. But God is not deceived by externals.

-A takeaway from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

-A takeaway from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Time Management

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.”

– Abraham Lincoln

Woodpile In Scottish Forest

The first time I heard ‘work smarter, not harder’ I was like ‘yeah – sign me up.’  The second time I heard it I was like ‘yeah, that is going to be harder than it sounds’.  After struggling for some time to apply that which is the ambiguity of the instruction ‘work smarter, not harder’ I came across a simple way to apply it each day.

Have you heard the idea that if you take fifteen minutes to plan out your day you will gain it back ten times in productivity?  Me either, but after doing it for several months I am convinced it is true and man – does it feel good to prioritize and knock things out.  To accomplish this Dave Ramsey suggests spending 15 minutes each day before we start work listing and categorizing our tasks into one of the following three categories:

  • A – Must be done today
  • B – Should be done soon, but today would be nice
  • C – Everything else

Once we have our items into one of these three categories number them by order of importance.  Put a 1 next to the most important ‘A’ item and a 2 next to the next most important ‘A’ item and so on.

I like this.  It hits one of the larger ideas from Getting Things Done by David Allen which is getting to do items out of our head and on to a list so they do not take up space – brain space.  I have found this to be very calming.  I use a google doc so I can always have access to it, which I find handy.  I love the feeling I get when I strike something out.  (actually I turn it blue)  I know I have had a good day if all my ‘A’ tasks get done.  I also have different headings – work, personal, etc.  I tie my daily tasks in to my goals by reviewing my goals before creating my list each day, which has been a helpful way to have day-to-day focus that leads to where I want to be long-term.  If things pop up during the day that can not wait until tomorrow I have a section creatively named ‘items for tomorrow’.  I categorize them the next day – genius, should I slow down?  When things pop up that seem urgent I ask myself ‘are they more important than my ‘A1’ item?’ or whichever item is up next, this helps me focus on what is important.

A takeaway from Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey.

 

Any other time management tips or systems?  What’s your favorite book on time management?  As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned would be the coolest but anything is cool.

 

Mission Statements – part 2

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

Young couple in love outdoor.

I went through a large portion of my life without a mission statement.  I remember thinking, “mission statements are for suckers” or something equally as stupid.  Then I remember a few years where the idea of a mission statement didn’t sound so stupid after all.  Then I recall a few years where I thought “I need me one of those” or something equally as brilliant.  Then, a few years later, I actually sat down and started to put one to paper.  Looking back I wish I would have done it much, much sooner.  But perhaps this is the natural cycle.  None the less if I could have done it over again I would have made one sooner.

From the time I put it on paper to the time I thought of it as final-ish (I think it is ok to tweak them as you grow) about two to three weeks passed.  I visited it once a week for a few weeks and it was done.  Immediately after I finished it, I recall a feeling of great peace – it was a very settling feeling.  Within days I noticed how it made decisions easier – it made life less stressful.  Especially as an entrepreneur, you will get several people who come to you with ideas for companies and ventures and projects and the like.  This is all good and awesome and a gift.  Still, we can’t do them all well. Having a mission statement acts as a helpful filter to these types of decisions.  I am of the belief that a good mission statement helps us make all sorts of decisions better and with the end in mind – so as not to be distracted from what is really important.

A tip to get you started

One of my mentors recommended an online tool that Franklin Covey makes available for free called the mission statement builder.  My family has used this tool many times as a starting point for mission statements.  It asks a series of questions that will help you determine your values, which is a great place to start when creating a mission statement.

 

 A takeaway from Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey.

 

Anyone have any other tips on creating mission statements?  Any stories about how yours has helped you make a tough decision?  As always comments re: good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned would be the coolest but anything is cool.