Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ReWork ReView

It's a new day. Our world, and specifically our working world, is different. Who can deny it?

As social media, marketing, and cultural guru Seth Godin preaches, "We're in the post industrial age." Which means we've left the age that was almost single-handedly defined by Henry Ford: Americans mass producing things for Americans and the world.

We've not just left the age of mass production, but also the age of rigidly defined processes and hierarchies. The industrial age was defined by things like boxes, rules, authorities and permission. This new age? Not so much.

As I've 100% agreed with this view, that we're in a new age in America; I've also wondered, "What does that look like? What specifically defines the post industrial age workplace? What is it and how do we function?"

ReWork has answered those questions!

This book has not only put tangibility to this new age, but even the form of the book is a reflection of it. Out of 271 pages, the chapters (lack of better word) are a mere 1-3 pages. The ideas: simple, concise, applicable.

Who is it for? Everyone. People who care about their career. Business owners. People wanting to start a business. College students. Church leaders. Non-profit people. People who want to get better. People who want to grow with the times.

Some of my personal underlines:

"Whenever you can, swap 'Let's think about it' for 'Let's decide on it'...Don't wait for the perfect solution. Decide and move forward." 77

"Delegators are dead...everyone's got to be productive. No one can be above the work." 218

"Build an audience (v customers) audience returns often--on its own--to see what you have to say." 170

"Make tiny decisions...the best way to achieve those big things is one tiny decision at a time." 130

"Interruption is the enemy of get in the alone zone. Long stretches of alone time when you're most productive." 104

"Meetings are
1. Set a timer. When it rings, meeting's over. Period.
2. Invite as few people as possible.
3. Always have a clear agenda.
4. Begin with a specific problem." 108

"Hire the best writer...clear writing is a sign of clear thinking...they makes things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else's shoes. They know what to omit...writing is today's currency for good ideas." 222

"Send people home at don't need more hours; you need better hours." 258

"They're not thirteen. When you treat people like children, you get children's work...when everything needs approval, you create a culture of nonthinkers." 255

Check it out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Have Issues

One of the thing we do well in our culture is ruin words: Gay, bitch, cock, balls.

The Flintsones had a gay ol' time.
Our greyhound is a bitch and a great one at that.
The gun isn't automatic, you have to cock it.
Let's pickup the dodge balls, people.

Odds are that's not how you interpreted those words in the opening sentence.

And let's not leave out words like: Muslim, conservative, liberal and Christian.

These words used to be benign adjectives; descriptors. Words that helped define a picture. Now, to large groups of people, each of these is a very negative adjective. Each paints a dark picture.

Just as ball can be the toy of an innocent toddler and an anatomical noun (whew!), so too Muslim can be a person of faith or someone with terrorist ties.

For me, I'm vexed by the word Christian. Some of my best friends are Christians. Some of the people that most irritate me are also Christians. Oh yeah, I'm a pastor. Is this a problem?

This dynamic seems to ebb and flow in my life. Probably because in the first 20 years of my life the thing that most repelled me from faith was the "faithful." God seemed good. The "godly," not so much.

I'm in that mode again. Two weeks ago I attended the Global Leadership Summit, a very Christian event. And it rocked my soul, challenged my mind, strengthened relationships, revealed the Holy Spirit of God and made me so proud to be thrown into the pot with the Christian label on the outside.

Then a week later my Christian brethren (why do only Christians have brethren?) threw a great Christian friend of mine under the bus for blogging in a way that offended them.

My inner dialogue went something like this:

"&%$# Christians! Glad we can count on our people to beat up our own people. Where's the flippin' grace we LOVE to sing and preach about, peckers?! Maybe I should get out of the game...maybe I could have these same beliefs and only renounce my affiliation with Christians?..." Seriously. (This is called "I Have Issues" for a reason.)

Of all the things I have belonged to in my 4+ decades of life, Christianity is the only one I have been cautious about owning up to 100% of the time. I never hesitated to tell people what school I went to, what activities I was into, what music I was into etc. But in owning my Christianity...sometimes I play it like a hand in a poker game.

And it's funny, I'm never second guessing who God is or what He calls us too. But some days the word Christian feels like the word ______(your choice: conservative / liberal) does to you.

I hate this. I feel bad. I feel bad in the sense that as a member of Christianity I have had a part in ruining the word Christian by what I've done or not done in front of family, friends or people I don't even know.

And too, I have this hideous tendency to have the most hate for things in others that exist in me.

The thing is, if we're judging by externals, I'm mostly kind of rockin' the Christian thing. But in the less public parts of me, some moments, not so much.

So maybe my condemnation for the people who are clearly publicly botching the word Christian is my way of dysfunctionally yelling at myself for those unchristian thoughts and struggles that rear their ugly heads in my life.

Oh yeah, reared is also a ruined word. Seriously, stop snickering.

My name is Morgan Young and I have issues. And I'm trying to rock the Christian label inside and out. What say we rebuild the word Christian, one thought and one action at a time?

Now I gotta go let my bitch out...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We're So Full of Piss and Vinegar

Christians, I mean. Probably some are outraged at the title of this post. "How inappropriate for a pastor to use the 'p' word in a public forum!" Even though we'll all hear far worse words than that tonight on TV and not bat an eye.

As much as I love the internet and all it makes possible to me, it also serves up an unloving and quick-to-judge side of us Christians.

This writing is fresh off yesterday's post on worship by Tim Stevens (original post, followup post). And before that, it was the firestorm of anger toward Rob Bell.

Here's the response to Tim in a nutshell: "How could you? You're immature. You're embarrassing. You annoy me. You're elitist. Self-absorbed. I've lost all respect for you. Quit being so self-serving, I'd never go to your church..."

(To be fair, several posters thanked him for his transparency and honest sharing in the spirit of helping us all get better and for saying what they'd wanted to say.)

Sadly we Christians respond just like the culture does these days. If people think differently than we do, we write them off personally. Jab their character and throw stones.

In terms of Tim and Rob it's as if their body of work up to that point didn't matter; like they're as good as their last soundbite.

I think a better way to love is to ask questions. A better way to love may be to seek first to understand (S. Covey), rather than condemn. It looks like this:

"Tim, it reads to me like you're tearing people down, being sarcastic...was that your intent or am I misunderstanding?"

"What was your purpose in writing that--I think I missed the point--I'm confused by it. Can you help me understand?"

Those are better lead ins, I think. These questions presume the best about a man who's served God in incredible ways for decades.

I'm talking about civility. Assuming the best about someone with different opinions. Respecting someone simply because everyone has value. Civility is hugely missing in our country right now.

I believe civility ought to be thriving amongst God's people. I remember reading somewhere about people outside the faith knowing Christians by how much they loved each other.

And why I'm here...I don't understand the general defensive and argumentative nature about the topic of worship among Christians in social media. At the heart of worship is this idea of unblemished lambs; bringing something excellent.

As far as I can tell, when talking about a skill set like musical worship, pursuing excellence and getting better requires discussions, feedback, coaching and evaluating.

Maybe this subject is a powder keg because we musicians are touchy, sensitive and opinionated as hell instead of being totally surrendered to heaven. (That was just for me. I'm a musician and I struggle.)

This world is watching us more than ever, because what we say isn't hearsay anymore. It's written word for word on Facebook and Twitter. And our piss and vinegar interactions enable would be Christians to look in and say,

"Eh, it looks as jacked up as political circles to me--I don't need more of that crap in my life."

We have the Love of the world inside us. Let's let Him out--especially when we don't agree with someone or understand where they're coming from.

Love does indeed make all the difference.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Global Leadership Summit Day 2

Mama Maggie Gobran
This extraordinary woman killed me before she spoke a word. Her presence...her facial people welcomed her with applause. It was simply other. I've never experienced anything like it. I have no words worthy to capture it. Her presence eclipsed her words like nothing I've ever sensed.

"The silence is the secret...the kingdom lies within..."

"Silence your body to listen to your words.
Silence your tongue to listen to your thoughts.
Silence your thoughts to listen to your beating heart.
Silence your heart to listen to your spirit.
Silence your spirit to listen to His Spirit."

"In silence we leave many to be with the One."

Michelle Rhee
"It wasn't just about closing 23 schools, it was about changing the culture."

"Teachers rated high while kids were falling behind was a problem."

"I'd rather deal with anger than apathy."

"If you turn your attention to who's yelling the loudest, you may turn your back on who needs you the most."

"I'm an aspiring Christian." ;-)

Dr. Henry Cloud
"God called you to be a steward over a vision--He's called you to change or affect something."

"When your maturity in one area is not strong enough, add an external structure."

Wise people: When truth comes to them, they adjust. They like feedback, it makes them happy. So talk to them, resource them, coach them, keep them challenged.

Fools: When truth comes to them, they adjust the truth. Excuses, minimize problems,don't own things, shoot the messenger. Do not like feedback.

So stop talking to them. Give them limits. Ask, "How can I talk with you so this will make a difference?...what will we do if I do what you want but nothing changes?"

Fools can change:
1. Limit exposure
2. Clear consequences
3. Give them a choice
4. Follow thru

Evil people: Destruction in their hearts; want to inflict pain. "reject a divisive person after a 2nd warning." Be prepared for lawyers, guns and money. (just for fun)

John Dickson
5 reasons to cultivate humility:

1. It's common sense
2. It's beautiful
3. It's generative (we learn new things b/c of it)
4. It's persuasive "The most persuasive person in the world is the one who has our best interest in mind."
5. It's inspiring

"We don't need a Christian nation to win a nation for Christ."

(In response to meeting U2 as impressionable young musicians) "Because they acted like us we believed we could be like them."

The crucifixion changed how people perceived humility. It was a negative trait in the world up to that point. Philippians 2:3-8 was the first text in human history to connect humility with greatness.

Pat Lencioni
(Funniest man with deep insights I've ever experienced.)

"People need reminded more than instructed."

"Vulnerability is powerful." His new book Getting Naked.

3 Fears of Vulnerability:

1. Fear of losing business (rejection)
"Enter the danger."
(Idea of improv group taking the most "out there" idea from the audience.)
Don't avoid difficult situations and things you don't know the answer to.
"Speak the kind truth." People are hungry for people who care enough to do this.

2. Fear of being embarrassed
"Ask dumb questions."
"Celebrate mistakes."
(Story of lady who farted in conference room but didn't acknowledge it--oh my.)

3. Fear of feeling inferior
"Do the menial things...serve so interested in people."
(Story of his agent wearing "Little Miss Matched" socks.)

"We're called to be vulnerable by the One who never had to be."

Erwin McManus
"There's nothing new under the sun is false!...After that was written, the virgin birth was new, parting Red Sea was new, crucifixion, resurrection etc."

"Outside of God, there's nothing new under the sun. Inside of God, there's no limit to what can be new!"

"There's never been an ordinary baby born on this planet, but too many of us die ordinary."

"The church needs to be the nurturer of the human spirit."

"People are going to die with dreams still in their souls."

"We (Christians) used to be the best poets in the world."

"Whoever tells the best story, shapes the culture."

"It's not hard to lead people to Jesus when you tell them a story they can see themselves in."

Global Leadership Summit Day 1

The Summit is one of the highlights of my year. I so wish everyone who follows Christ would attend. No, that's too narrow. Add to that, "And everyone who cares about this world." That's better.

It's like getting a drink of high octane truth and revelation from a fire hydrant. It's rocket fuel for the soul coming at you at mach 2. It can change our lives and those with whom we interact. Here are some sound bytes (forgive my paraphrases & misquotes.)

Bill Hybels
"We do our best work between 'appropriately challenged' and 'dangerously challenged.'"

"We have to field and develop fantastic people in a fantastic ministry to serve a fantastic God."

"Are you naming, facing and solving the problems that exist in your organization?"

"Can you some up what you're about as a church in 5 words?"
("Love. Evil. Rescue. Choice. Restore.")

"What if your next 5 years were your best 5 years?"

Len Schlesinger

"Data says that everything we assume about entrepreneurs is not true:
They don't tend to love risk and have a clear vision."

"We are all entrepreneurs, just too few get to practice it."

"The idea that we can deal with things sequentially is false."

"Historical results do not predict the future. So if you can't predict the future, create it!"

"To be an entrepreneur, imagine you're Indiana Jones having fallen down a pitch black hole. Take small steps. Use whatever you have. Build on what you find."

"Stop worrying about what you want to do. Think about what you want to do next."

Honorable Cory A. Booker
"We are here because of other people's incredible vision and courage...let us stand because people stood for us."

"Criticizing is just spitting into the the change you want to see...if it's meant to be it's up to me."

Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil
Acts 1:8 "Without a catalyst we stay stuck in Jerusalem."

"If you want to break thru:
1. Pray for a divine mandate,
2. Name your catalytic events,
3. Mobilize people to go!"

"Don't just go and help, go and learn."

"An educational degree means nothing unless it's relevant to people around you."

Seth Godin
My paraphrase of hisgeneral concept: the industrial revolution is over. It shaped our culture (and churches) up to this point. It's a new age. We have to live differently.

"The new means of production is a laptop."

"In this new age we need to be artists."

"Quit bowling! (it's boring and the goal is perfection)"

"We teach people to wait to be picked. Pick yourself!"

"If failure is not an option, then neither is success."

"Even though the tide is out doesn't mean the ocean has less water in it."

"Give gifts, not favors."

"The world is begging you to lead."

Steven Furtick 2 Kings 3:9-20
"The difference between a daydream and audacious faith is action."

"If your vision isn't intimidating to you, it's probably insulting to God."

"To see the world filled with water, dig some ditches."

"Life can beat the audacity out of you...God can put it back in you."

"We compare our 'behind the scenes' to everyone else's 'highlight reels.'"

Bill Hybels addresses why CEO & Founder of Starbucks, Howard Schultz couldnt make it. Click here to watch video. Click here to positively contact Starbucks.