Parenting: Giving Added Value to a Child’s Christmas

He who would make children happy must do for them and do with them, rather than merely give to them. He must give himself with his gifts, and thus imitate and illustrate, in a degree, the love of Him who gave Himself to us, our needs, and who, with all that He gives us, holds out an expectation of some better thing in store for us: of that which passeth knowledge and understanding, but which shall fully satisfy our hopes and longings when at last we have it in possession.
-H Clay Trumbull

Rustic Christmas wreath on old weathered door with Christmas lights in a snow storm.
Rustic Christmas wreath on old weathered door with Christmas lights in a snow storm.

 

The story told in this chapter on Christmas was a story of anticipation. Children gathered round swelling stockings with suggestive outlines. Threads strung throughout the home for children to follow creating moments bursting with suspense as they race to see what mystery awaits them at their journey’s end. What cherished memories such experiences create.

This week I asked Jamie if she remembered what she was gifted last Christmas. She did better than I. I could hardly recall a thing. As we reflected on Christmases past the memories were not of things to hold in our hands but of things to hold in our hearts. I realized then that my focus had been just off. A bit or the whole way wrong, I am not yet sure I know. Nonetheless, too material for certain. The spirit of a gift given is undoubtedly a wonderful thing; focused on the other, a habit to exercise the wondrous joy of coming out of self. Still, something was missing or quite the opposite rather: something had been perverted along the way and was now in excess.

This Christmas we have set out to reverse the reality that the value placed on each gift amidst the abundance thereof is greatly diminished. To replace the abundance of things to hold in hand with an abundance of things to hold dear in our hearts as cherished memories. To replace the money leaving our account with self leaving our soul. We thought to ourselves what if we simply gave one gift? How could it not then be special? We are going to try to head this way, uncertain that the outcome will align with the longing for the cherished, but one thing is present already, anticipation is building.

Merry Christmas and may God bless you with the fruit of the Spirit, when we are less and He is more, shone through to all you enjoy His celebration with this year. May your Christmas abound in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness and temperance. Amen.

 

-A takeaway from Hints on Child Training by H Clay Trumbull

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

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.

 

Collaboration vs Coordination

Value proceeds progress

collaboration vs. coordination

Have you ever found yourself in a team environment that goes no where? Nothing gets done. A committee perhaps. When I find myself in these situations I make it a point to talk about a truth that I have discovered. A saying I have adopted. A practice of habit and method of working with others I use. I have found that it clears these situations up quite nicely. People get it. People respond to it. In my experience it has breathed hope and life back into these gatherings which showed so much promise at setting out but somewhere along the way took a wrong turn. It is sometimes a hard pill to swallow for those that are not all that interested in doing any real work. Everyone who wants progress rallies around it and progress is what is had if it is adopted. Here it is. Value proceeds progress.

I was recently approached by The National Society of Leadership and Success to do an interview for content to push out to their members. During the interview I was asked what lessons I had learned about collaboration. I shared with them something I learned while in the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program at Illinois State University. While there I had the privilege of studying under Dr. Steven Taylor. Dr. Taylor is brilliant, an academic’s academic. I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from him. Dr. Taylor was also an incredible teacher. That is, I learned new and highly valuable skills and adopted them as habits under his instruction. Dr. Taylor taught me many valuable things and one of the most valuable was the difference between collaboration and coordination.

  • Collaboration. In my estimation, the goal is getting all the information on the table.
  • Coordination. In my estimation, the goal is getting the work done. You do this. I’ll do that. Let’s go.

In my estimation getting to ‘let’s go’ is often the issue that committees struggle with. So I want to talk just a bit about getting to ‘let’s go’, which is where I have come to believe all the progress happens.

Value proceeds progress. Value propositions. The language of business. A deal. A proposed exchange. These are what are needed for progress. If there are no value propositions there will be no progress. Ideas will never reach their potential until a value proposition for executing them is made. Let me present a, hopefully, simple and adaptable example in an effort to make things clear and useful.

An idea that a certain set of stakeholders would benefit from a certain thing. Let us say a community wants a park. Ok so people are gathered to talk about the park. Quickly, often too quickly in my experience, the conversation turns to preference. Should it go here or there or have this or that. Preference is a wonderful thing in the free market do no misunderstand me. What I am saying is that a group of people talking about their preferences in a room will go on and on and there will be no progress on the park. Someone in the group must do the work to frame up a plan and present it. Make a value proposition to the group. This is how to speak business. Bill stands up and says “I should like to propose the following plan: I will research and identify grants, Susie will then write the executive summary for our grant application, which Sam will then use to get letters of intent to match dollars at a 1:4 ratio from these or those organizations and Mary will put the application together and come back to the lot of us to answer the grantor’s questions until it is through.” Then Bill says the magic words, “who is in?”. And what results is progress. If the group is in. They act in coordination. If the group is not in, they will have identified one way not to create a light bulb as it were. At this step, no matter if Bill’s proposition is the best, hopefully the group will realize the sacred nature of the proposition that Bill has made. The sacred language of business. Proposal. Acceptance, denial or counter offer. Now the group has a place from which to start. A spark in coming to a proposition that a team can commit to, hold eachother accountable to, and focus on the results thereof.

This has gone on too long. Here is a sound byte from the interview that was shared with the members of The National Society of Leadership and Success. I have permission to share a short snippet of it, for the full interview one need be a member.

 

 -A takeaway from an internrocket.com press interview

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

Getting In

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
-C.S. Lewis

friendship in business

In business the desire for strategic partnerships often arises when trying to accomplish. As an entrepreneur I have found myself doing what I suppose many entrepreneurs do from time to time: dreaming about a future in which we have partnered with another who is already serving the masses. Dinner with the king and so on. But how does one broach the matter with the great? The bible gives Christian business people an understanding on exactly how this works. Let us have a look.

 First things first the bible shows us what the dynamics of the situation are in Proverbs 19:6a

 Many will entreat the favor of the prince…

 Entreat. Ask someone earnestly or anxiously to do something. So we know that the great are approached earnestly and or anxiously by many. What is an earnest approach like to the great? I am assuming it is not like getting a call from your cable provider on the benefits of latest bundle. It is more likely, I think, that these are more like the I have a dream speech. It is quite reasonable, I believe, to assume that the solicitors care deeply about the matter, that they have thought deeply about it for some time, perhaps even sacrificed to bring it to its current state for years. How are we to stand out?

Anxiously. In this context, I take this to mean that the solicitors’ sense of desire is great. Perhaps to the point of causing the solicited to be a bit put back, startled or even uneasy. When we think about it the two are in very different positions. One has just heard of this idea, proposition, or even this person; just now. The other is quite the opposite. This passion and sense of urgency and desire on the matter seems only separate them further.

The verse goes on to say:

Many will entreat the favor of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.

So what is this mention of gifts doing here then? Interesting. Another verse in Proverbs mentions gifts and the great and even speaks to the topic of broaching the divide between ourselves and them. Proverbs 18:16 reads:

A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

 So the bible is telling us that a gift will help us get our in so to speak. But what sort of gift is this? A new car? A fruit cake?

Gifts. The very best sort are focused on the other. Giving a gift that you like is one thing; I enjoyed this so I thought you might to. But then again your mother may not like so and so as much as you. But let us suppose this Mothers Day you found out a bit about where your mother would like to be and gave her a gift that helped her get there. In business this, I think, is of the very best sort. Not so easy of course, but all the same the best I think.

I have come to believe that these great business people are great because of their being focused on those they are serving. Again this speaks to how difficult it can be to present an idea to them. They are likely consumed with executing their specific plan for serving their customers and there may not be room for a new idea that is yours. It is highly probable that they have a plan and that you can learn about it. Perhaps the gift you bring could establish your friendship by coming alongside them in their journey of service. How much better if it was on their terms and not yours. If you were focused on joining them on their journey not inserting yours and trying to make it fit. Focused on them. The question, I believe, then becomes: how can you give a gift that helps them with their plan of helping their customers?

-A takeaway from an internrocket.com shareholder meeting

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

Law of Compensation

The Simple Path: Silence is Prayer. Prayer is Faith. Faith is Love. Love is Service. The Fruit of Service is Peace

-Mother Teresa

umbrella and rain drops closeup

This post runs the risk: what does this have to do with that?  And. How does that lead to this?  Still in some way they fit to me. The thought of heavy rain spattering against an umbrella. A peaceful sound. Let us suppose each drop of rain an opportunity to provide value. The protected wishes to be. Drops deflected value provided. Imagine still deflecting each drop on its own. A difficult task. Impossible perhaps. If that were the way, how valuable the the modern umbrella would be.

The Law of Compensation:

Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

I have come to believe that once we have a good value to provide, our income is determined by the rate at which we  allow others to participate in the exchange. Innovation accelerates these occurrences in my experience. Innovation in this sense. Applying new systems or technology to scale service. A matter a leverage. Leverage without dilution of value all the better.  What systems can we adhere to allow others the value we provide exponentially?  Pick one point of value that you provide others and develop a simple system or apply a simple technology to accelerate the rate at which others can gain from it. Think one to many. I do this once and many gain and so on. Peace be with you.

 

-A takeaway from The Go Giver by Mann and Burg

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

Law of Value

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.

-Albert Einstein

Law of Value

The Law of Value:

Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

I was fortunate enough to have a brilliant professor during my studies at Illinois State University’s College of Business.  Dr. Taylor is a fantastic professor in many respects; he cares, works hard, loves what he does, but one thing stands out more than any other – he is well equipped. The man is brilliant. One of the many things he taught me was a simple concept of value that I have clasped on to and refuse to let leave. I have since spent a lot of time reflecting and dwelling on it and make use of it regularly. It is a simple equation:

 

Value =  Get / Give Up

 

Value received is equal to what you get divided by what you give up to get it. If we intend to provide value to others we would do well to consider this equation. How can we be more mindful of the value equations that we participate in every day? They are all around us. How can we manipulate this equation for good? Increasing what people get in their dealings with us while we hold constant what they give up or the other way round. Even increasing what is got while decreasing too what is given in the same go – all the better. Everyone likes a good value.

Value is a concept I hold dear to my heart. The idea of value propositions freely given and freely received is something that allows us to serve each other. To work together for good in meaningful and sustainable ways. Value proceeds progress. A beautiful thing indeed.

-A takeaway from The Go Giver by Mann and Burg

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