Monday, May 30, 2011

"The first line supervisor has the devil's own job" - Edward Deming!/?sk=lf
"The first line supervisor has the devil's own job"   It takes a special person to be up front and on the line where all the action takes place.  All the change, all of the chances, all the decisions that make or break the moment and facilitates either success or a set back.  Front line workers are where the quality of a system is seen and lived or is totally absent and the source of high frustration and anxiety.  They are aware when things are going well and when they are not, and then comes the challenge, "What are you going to do now?!" 

When well trained, they know and their actions are embedded into correcting the problem, addressing the need, and also the ability to affirm what is good and working well.  In this life and world, the demons of variation in machinery, systemic processes, emotional makeup of workers, and even as looming as intentional evil intent and actions of others trying to deter or overtake others. 

This Memorial Day, I want to not only affirm all who function as leaders in the freedom of this business world we enjoy, but those leaders and heroes that currently do and those who did serve on the front lines of freedom and protection for all of the liberties and benefits we enjoy.  A Thank you for a job well done, then and now!  We get so caught up in daily routine and living into those "freedoms- doing what we do every day" and take for granted that each day will dawn as a journey of our choices and not under the tyrannical will of another.  It is right to pause and give thanks and prayers of protection for those who serve in our armed services.  Thank you and God Bless!  You serve as the front line leaders that take on the desire and wills of the devil in this world 

I feel it is even appropriate to extend our thanks and prayers to the first responders that keep us safe and protected in our local communities, most who also provided earlier service in a military uniform, and just extended their calling to service to a different level and context.  Thank You All! You help keep the devil and fear at bay in our lives!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Steve Rottgers Consulting: "It is so difficult to predict the future; Anybody...

Steve Rottgers Consulting: "It is so difficult to predict the future; Anybody...: "'It is so difficult to predict the future; Anybody can predict anything; A rational prediction has an explanation based on theory.' - Edwar..."

"It is so difficult to predict the future; Anybody can predict anything; A Rational prediction has an expanation based on theory"

"It is so difficult to predict the future; Anybody can predict anything; A rational prediction has an explanation based on theory." - Edward Deming
The billboard that is being passed on facebook pages and from one to another in emails sums up the great prediction of the worlds demise this past Saturday basically says, "Well that was embarrassing!"  The world didn't end!  A snicker was heard in church pews. A sigh of relief was on the lips of some. Life was not evaporated from the face of the earth!  The Rapture ruptured! 

I have heard and read of people who sold everything, diverted life savings, and totally rearranging their lives in preparation.  I've heard of stories of children not wanting to go to birthday parties for fear of not being with their parents at the end.  Children trying to wrap their minds around the fear that adults were passing along in their conversations or in the lack of taking time to sit and spend quality time quelling the little one's fears or questions. 

Leaders corrupt their influence when predictions are made without any deep understanding or ability to influence the outcomes.  It's hard for leaders to predict the fickle events of moments in time, machinery settings, variation in systems, people responses to news or events, and we still have ones that feel they can predict the end of all time?!  Jesus even had the knowledge and wisdom to defer the questions that came to him by saying that He didn't even have that depth of knowledge, insight or influence and that it was a God timing issue. 

When it came to questions of definitive prediction that were asked of Dr. Deming at his seminars he would calmly say, " There is one thing for sure if you are looking to predict the stock market-tomorrow it will either be up or down from what it is today."  The great oracle at Delphi in early Greek Culture knew the skill set of the artful dodge.  If asked will my pregnant wife give birth to a son or daughter?  The perceived wise oracle would answer, "Boy-yes, no girl!"  and when the son was born, all was truthful; however when the daughter arrived, what happened?! To which the oracle would clarify, first inclination- boy yes, no-wait-a girl!"

It's all in what we hear, but also how we want to hear it!  Prediction is possible for anyone, but will they be articulating the truth, based on reliable theory, wisdom and knowledge as able to understand.  Long tracks of figures and stats may pile up to one thought, yet as Deming also reminds us, "It only takes one failure to rebut a theory!"  We get comfortable in known paradigms, we get stuck in our thinking, or we become so fearful, we are not able to think clearly.  We seize up!

Even Jesus had his moment of questioning His leap of turning His fate in God's hands, but it was trust and a deepened faith that came from repeated testings and trials that forged a confidence in God's ability to totally change all of the rules and paradigms and enable a resurrection from what many thought was a final and total end in death.  He lives!

Hacks can predict all sorts of things.  Knowledgeable people can statistically run the numbers to point in hoped for directions, but it is the trust levels that come with a wisdom that allows us to allow faith to intervene when we so desperately want a final answer, and know that God will provide and act to enable what is best. 

The only prediction that I would ever dare to utter with humble confidence is: God is Good All of the Time, All the Time God is Good, Because That is HIS Nature!  All of the rest of predictions are guesses at best.  We need and try to do it in our lives and businesses to the best of our knowledgeable theoretical ability to aid in planning for success, but at the baseline, it's still a guess.  As leaders, we need to know the difference and our prediction limits!  

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Leader knows who is out of the system and needs special help.

A Leader knows who is out of the system and needs special help. Edward Deming
In  the church we have just had "Shepherding Sunday" with the major theme of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  Such a model of leadership involves knowing the people you are chosen to lead and being in relationship with them to the point that you know them and they know you.  It is is a Trust building process.  Part of the trust is knowing that when help is needed, the right person will be there not to ridicule, embarrass, but to support, mentor, coach, teach, or model what is desired or needed. 

Good leaders know their people, understands their gifts, skills and passions, and then removes the barriers that block the potential successful efforts of the members of their staff.  It is akin to shepherds, knowing the way to places that will support the sheep and their needs for food, water, sanctuary, and safety.  The sheep know the shepherd's voice and follow that one person alone.  They do not respond to unfamiliar voices. 

Leaders need to take the time to be known by their constituents.  It is in times of trial, change or challenge that a familiar voice that has implicit trust also built into it is a good thing of comfort to those seeking someone to make a decision and lead.  If that trust has not been built, tried and shown to be sound, people will waffle and not respond to needed direction or affirm the leader's influence.  They don't know their leader or worse yet, don't trust them!  Many a leader take extremely long walks with nobody following them because they are not trusted, or known by the very people they feel called to lead.

Leadership is nothing more than relationships, relationships, relationships, with a healthy dose of trust to glue it all together.  When mixed well, the needed influence for leadership will flow and be present. 

One other major teaching I have received in times past is that Sheep are not to be set as the goal of life.  They are dependent, not very smart, smell bad, and are shorn of their coats on a regular basis.  I have always taught that sheep are the innocent or naive people that are out of the system, either the church or the business system they are entering, and it should be the focused intent of leaders to transform those sheep into shepherds within a certain length of time.  Raising sheep to shepherd status is a leadership purpose.  Keeping sheep - sheep is the act of a tyrant!A Leader knows who is out of the system and needs special help. Edward Deming

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Leader must have knowledge. A Leader must be able to teach. - Edward Deming

A Leader must have knowledge. A Leader must be able to teach.  
I hear these words and think of the high need for Leaders to convey to the people who follow, a vision that is compelling, comprehensive, positive, and captures everyone's heart and passion to rally and help accomplish the task or goal that lays before them.  That leader must be able to convey information and an understanding of how it us to be used to succeed.  Data alone is worth nothing!  It has to be accompanied by theory, an applicable use, or prediction of what may happen if "this" takes place.  Data + Theory = Knowledge.  Knowledge + repeated attempts of application = Experience.   Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom. 

Jesus was known for His teaching, and the applications of a spiritual theory as to applications of God's viewpoint of life and what to do in circumstances.  It was important for Jesus to be a good teacher, a Rabbi!  Not only was He good at conveying the message, He lived it!.  He was out in front on everything, answering questions that were in the people's minds sometimes before they even articulated them.  He was a marvel to most that experienced His wondrous means of drawing a crowd, conveying a message, and then giving them a task to apply it.  Move it from only words, to a knowledgeable thought, and then to an actual practice of application so the Theory,(Theology/Message) stuck and became an Experience never to be forgotten.

Not only dealing with everyday people issues, questions about Faith, or how to have a purpose in Life,  Jesus takes it to the next level by dying, and then coming back to tell us what it is like, to challenge us to believe and then to follow His examples of life, and the teachings He patterned for our benefit.  He took the time to teach the disciples that were walking along the road to Emmaus.  He opened their minds to remember the teachings, he showed them a physical symbol to refresh their memories by breaking bread in their midst.  After the eyes and mind were opened, and they remembered, the lesson was done, and time to move to the next class and the next set of pupils, or workers in the harvest. 

Jesus was a very knowledgeable leader and our ability to believe and live as by faith is a testament as to His ability to Teach!!/?sk=lfA Leader must have knowledge. A Leader must be able to Teach. -Edward Deming