Wednesday, April 13, 2011


It is evident that each of us will be challenged to change or adapt an aspect of our life in order to better ourselves, our company, or perhaps a team. Adapting can evident in our lives through examples such as... 1. Ordering a Pepsi product when Coke products are not available 2. Switching from sugar to another type of sweetener per our physician's order 3. Ordering Fat Free Yogurt instead of custard 4. Potato Chips instead of French fries 5. Paper grocery bags instead of plastic As you may be able to discern, I have food on my mind currently. Anyway, I think that we can all agree that due to circumstances within our environment, one's self, or in accordance to meet a greater need- adapting from what we may normally prefer is necessary. To take this subject further it may be necessary for us to continue to adapt or change to avoid complacency; hence also bettering ourselves in the process. Have you ever heard anyone say. "that's the way we have always done it"? You, yourself may be guilty of this explicitly ignorant statement; I know that I have! Whenever I catch myself or hear another person proclaim this, I want to respond with- "that begs the question- I guess that it has always been accomplished inaccurately". Naturally, out of respect for myself, and other interested parties- I simply ask them to explore the effect of something being done differently. What is handicapping you from growing? It may be personally, spiritually, relationally, or professionally. Be honest with yourself, because I know if you are anything like me (human), then adaptation (i.e. learning, observing, strategic, implementing) is a part of the natural cycle in which our creator endowed us with. Being a person of faith, I believe that God created us with this wonderfully complex mind so that we are uniquely able to explore, discover, and reason the vastness of his creation. If this is true, how does it apply to me? Unfortunately, I am not going to begin to speculate what your gifts, or abilities in which God has blessed you with. What I do know is that whatever he has created you for, it is your responsibility to hold steadfast to it with uncompromising devotion. What do I mean by this? Whatever situation that you find yourself in within life do it with all of your ability. 1. If you are blessed to be a parent, be the best parent that you can be. This may involved reading, mentoring, counseling, etc- but it is your duty to do it right! 2. If you are a custodian- then make sure that your floors and windows are the shiniest around. That your abilities and gifts are imprinted on everything that you do. 3. If you are a teacher- you are the best teacher that you are capable of being. You adapt and change your curriculum and teaching style in order to reach more students. 4. Instead of watching TV on your lunch hour, read a book or explore ways to improve yourself. The principle is easy in concept, but difficult in practice- that is why it is necessary to constantly ADAPT or change. Think of it this way, would you want to have cardiovascular surgery performed on you by a doctor that was a "C" student in college twenty years ago- and does not keep up on the most advanced procedures? Then why do you expect less of yourself? JFH

Sunday, September 5, 2010


It has been quite some time since I have heard of anyone describe their self as disciplined. It seems to be taboo in today’s society to be disciplined within your occupation unless we are describing an athlete or a surgeon. But within the business world one may be seen as greedy or a workaholic if they are strategic or regimented about their occupation.

Do not misunderstand me, I am not endorsing an unhealthy balance in one’s family/ work life, but I am stating that during the time that we are fulfilling our vocation that it would be beneficial for us to pursue it with our full energy. Our attention while at work is a reflection of our whole character. Which means that if we are lazy, and have a disdain in our work then it will show throughout all aspects of our life.

Discipline should be the action behind our character. Discipline is all about the details. Discipline is respect for others as well as one’s self.

No one ever said that it was easy, but anything worth much in this world is not.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Leadership is an Art

Leadership is not an endowment through a title; contrary it is an art, partially a gift and partially forged though challenging trials and diligent study and insight. Unfortunately, most of us have had the misfortune of experiencing an ill-equipped manager that was catapulted into a role that they were not ready for, or did not have a competency for. I am not saying that they were not hard workers, or that they were not intelligent. But we have to realize that not every smart- hardworking individual should/ could be a manager.

It is important as we begin grooming individuals to sprout through their career trajectory that we are truly assessing whether their skill set aligns with a leadership position. Unfortunately, just because we have a hardworking and intelligent worker does not mean that they should be considered for a management role. If we do this, we are not only handicapping the team, because of the strife that a misplaced employee could reap. As important, we are hurting the individual by falsifying their skills.

Celebrate our team members strengths, and don’t promote individuals just because you want to reward them. In turn our teams will be stronger , because we will have everyone in a career that they will be successful at!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Flora Whittemore once said, “The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live”.

In Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” he writes about a Sunday afternoon when he was riding on a subway and a gentleman and his children boarded the train. The children were untamed, running through the isles into people as they were reading their newspapers. Mr. Covey being quite agitated turned to the man and scolded him. The gentleman apologized, and began to inform Mr. Covey that the children had just been to the hospital where their mother had passed away. Not knowing how to digest the news the children became insubordinate.

Sobering isn’t it?

I know that there have been plenty of times in my life where I have prejudged a situation or persons intentions based on my education, ego, and the tinted filter of life lessons that I have been apart of. Given my personality, I not unlike Mr. Covey would have been put off by the perception of the children’s disobedience, but the question is- would I have been right?

As managers and leaders it is not uncommon for us to experience times when an exceptional employee’s work has drastically suffered. But how are we dealing with these issues? Do we write the employee off, stating that they are no longer motivated, or have become lazy? Friend’s this is a serious issue that most manager’s face at times in their career, but the issue may be something else (sickness in the family, marital problems, financial difficulties, etc).

I think the question is what do we value as an employer, and who do we value? We have to begin to make human calculations when dealing with such a valuable commodity. If your most valuable asset is not well, you do not cash them in, but aid them in the healing process.

As leaders we cannot remove ourselves from Ms. Whittmore’s quote, because how we deal with even the insignificant situations in our lives determines the legacy that each of us will leave behind.

What will be said about your leadership ability? Were you fair, and honest? How about your character?

I know that I have stumbled many of times, but I pray that a glimpse of goodness will be seen through me.



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Leadership Model

How we lead, or better yet how we serve will determine the impact that we will have on our team. I believe that the top down structure that most organizations have and adhere to is problematic and does not foster the results that sustain a healthy environment for growth.

About two thousand years ago we were given the ultimate lesson on leadership through humility and selflessness. By washing each of his disciples feet, Jesus taught us that in order to lead people to where they need to be, we have to be willing to serve them first.

I do not know about you, but this is a difficult concept to get my head around, not because serving is physically tough, but because it is humbling. I’m not sure how I fell about washing anyone’s feet except my own, because it is a position of servitude. But as leaders we have to step out of the safety of these generational misconceptions of leading/ managing and be able to humbly serve our team.

Leading is not about barking orders, or knowing all of the answers. It is about how certain changes are going to affect situations through knowing your team, and their personalities. It is about gathering facts and being able to discern what is the proper course of action, but mostly leadership is about teaching/ coaching through emulating best practices.

If leaders/ managers continue degrading practices such as micromanaging, and top down managing/ babysitting without the consideration of the genius that is in their team- then it will result in not being able to effectively perpetuate long term viable change. Micro managers will have short term success, but they will not allow success to blossom through the cloud of their distrust.

Educate, Show-coach, Empower, Evaluate, REPEAT.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Muddied Waters

We have all seen what happens when fresh clean water is mixed with soil. The water becomes contaminated which not only makes the water not suitable for consumption, but it also places a dingy film on everything it comes in to contact with.

Unfortunately, throughout each of our lives we are going to run across the contaminating soil that pollutes our water. The soil might be in the form of a failed project, discouraging co-worker, incompetent boss, or inadequate training or resources. Nevertheless, this contamination could cause you to question your ability, dwell on your mistakes, cause you to stop enjoying your job, or stunt your professional or emotional growth.

The truth is that industries will fail, people will stumble and disappoint all of us- so it is up to each of us as leaders to stand waist deep in the muck with a coffee filter protecting, encouraging, and educating our team members on how to be better prepared and equipped.

I have/ had a team member who was always apologizing about his feelings and ideas. Let your team members know that their ideas and opinions are valuable, and that the environment that you are fostering is safe, because in the business world not much is safe.

Control the controllable, and be the safety screen that a leader needs to be!


Saturday, January 30, 2010


How does the idiom go…, “Possession is nine tenths of the law ”?

What does that say to the leader in you?

Recently I visited a local retail behemoth to purchase some dress shoes for my son. My wife and I went to the boys shoe section- picked out a nice pair of dress shoes, and preceded to the checkout line. What I did not tell you was that all of the boys dress shoes were marked 50% off, including the ones that we had chosen.

Once we arrived at the checkout counter, the gentleman that was checking us out stated the price. This was the price that was marked on the box; the original price. We avowed to him that they were marked on-sale, and he called the shoe department without luck. My wife and I were distraught about the lack of service that we were receiving, so we thought that we would return to the shoes department, and show the supervisor the 50% sale card in front of the shoes. To our dismay, when we returned to the shoe department (approximately five minutes later) all of the sale cards were missing. I summoned the attention of one of the shoe salesmen, and stated that the shoes that I was holding had a sales tag in front of not only them, but also in front of all of the boys dress shoes. He shook his head in agreement, and stated, “Yes there was, but they really were not on sale, so I removed the sign”.

Ignorance is bliss my friend. What this gentleman, the supervisor, the store clerk, and possibly the retail behemoth failed to realize is that their lack of action in service cost them a customer for life. Not only that, but the siren sound informs us that I am going to notify others that may want to frequent the store.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have managed individuals for years. Some people unfortunately are blind to the impact that they could cause in lacking adequate service. For example, many times in my career I have witnessed- service employed individuals schedule their lunch times during the busiest times in the office. This tells me that they are either uninformed about their role, or their lack of consideration about what their role is truly about.

How do you serve to lead others around the situation that my wife and I experienced in the shoe department? Are your employees educated, and empowered to make sound decisions that are not only good for the customers, but good for business? Let your team members possess the tool of decision making through proper education- then they will own one of the keys to success!

Go out and serve somebody today!