Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leading with Vision in a Challenging Economy

As organizations everywhere deal with the changes demanded by a challenging economy, I find myself extremely focused on business strategy. This is especially true for me during budget development season! To live out its mission as an organization, it is clear that now more than ever its leadership must be disciplined and sensible. It is of utmost importance to identify a course and do everything to stay on that path.

While a wise business plan is essential, a potential side effect of that mentality is the tendency to become so calculated about our plan, so myopic as we pore over the details, that we forget about our ultimate mission. As I’ve been contemplating this, I came across an excerpt from Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers in an eBook by Seth Godin. Michael Hyatt says this about vision:

Vision is the lifeblood of any organization. It is what keeps it moving forward. It provides meaning to the day-to-day challenges and setbacks that make up the rumble and tumble of real life.

In a down economy—particularly one that has taken most of us by surprise—things get very tactical. We are just trying to survive. What worked yesterday does not necessarily work today. What works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. Decisions become pragmatic.

But after a while this wears on people. They don’t know why their efforts matter. They cannot connect their actions to a larger story. Their work becomes a matter of just going through the motions, living from weekend to weekend, paycheck to paycheck.

This is where great leadership makes all the difference. Leadership is more than influence. It is about reminding people of what it is we are trying to build—and why it matters. It is about painting a picture of a better future. It comes down to pointing the way and saying, “C’mon. We can do this!”

When times are tough, vision is the first causality. Before conditions can improve, it is the first thing we must recover.

Michael Hyatt is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He blogs on “Leading with Purpose” at MichaelHyatt.com and also Twitters @MichaelHyatt.

So, I guess it’s a good time to remind ourselves, and myself, about our corporate vision. So, here's Work Systems’ mission, vision, and promise:

MISSION – Empowering individuals with health solutions that enable them to get well and stay well.
VISION – Healthy people... body, mind, and spirit.
OUR PROMISE – Work Systems will consistently demonstrate dependability, trustworthiness, respect as we empower individuals with functional health solutions.

Here’s to a successful and healthy 2010! My prayer is that you will recognize the larger story that you’re writing by your daily efforts. I pray that you live out that vision, both individually and collectively. And I pray that you understand just how much you matter. To realize the mission, your organization needs you.

Get well! Stay well!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Benevolent or Malevolent?

I’ve recently just been introduced to a Brian Tracy's website. Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. His goal is to help individuals achieve personal and business goals faster and easier than they’ve ever imagined. While I don’t know him or his philosophies well, something he wrote resonated with me today:

“There are two ways to look at the world: the benevolent way or the malevolent way. People with a malevolent or negative worldview take a victim stance, seeing life as a continuous succession of problems and a process of unfairness and oppression. They don't expect a lot and they don't get much. When things go wrong, they shrug their shoulders and passively accept that this is the way life is and there isn't anything they can do to make it better.

On the other hand, people with a benevolent or positive worldview see the world around them as filled with opportunities and possibilities. They believe that everything happens as part of a great process designed to make them successful and happy. They approach their lives, their work, and their relationships with optimism, cheerfulness, and a general attitude of positive expectations. They expect a lot and they are seldom disappointed.”

I don't believe that the primary goal of all that happens is to make a person successful and happy. That is a pretty egocentric point of view. There are certainly many definitions of the words “successful” and “happy.” However, I do believe his statement is true in general. People that are benevolent are optimistic, cheerful, and positive.

I have been making a conscious effort to focus on being benevolent recently. Unfortunately, some days that requires more effort than others for me. However, when I can achieve a benevolent attitude, my days generally do go better.

As an organization, Work Systems is setting big one-year and three-year goals. At times, I find it easy to fall into the temptation of thinking (and believing) that, despite good intentions, things will not change. And to truly expect big changes by simply changing an attitude, by being benevolent, is foolish.

Changing the future from the trends of the present or recent past requires solutions, creativity in problem-solving. But to effectively implement these plans, an attitude of benevolence is critical.

I invite you to pursue benevolence. Will you shrug your shoulders and accept the status quo as inevitable? Are you prone to believe that the current situation is unchangeable? Do you have a victim mentality?

Or are you making yourself aware of the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead? Are you viewing today as a stepping-stone for a brighter tomorrow?

Join me in expecting a lot, and you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is Happiness Contentment?

Stolen directly from Dave Ramsey's newsletter (http://dr.daveramsey.com/etc/newsletters/company/113009.cfm) on his website, Dave reminds me, once again, that happiness and contentment are not synonymous.


Back to the Basics of Christmas

No matter what your budget is this Christmas, remember to be thankful. Take a deep breath in the middle of all this craziness.

You might have a lot. You might have a little. If you are driving a beater, be thankful for that beater. You would rather drive that than walk, wouldn't you? There is always something to be thankful for.

That's what contentment is all about. When you understand and really grasp contentment, it becomes easier to save money and invest. Stress slowly disappears. Budgeting is easier. Relationships improve.

Be happy with what you have. More than three billion people, almost half the world, live on $2.50 a day. Sometimes we need a little perspective to become content with our current situation.

Without contentment, it's easy to be bitter and apathetic. Happiness is sold to us, especially during this time of year. We think if we can just get one more piece of stuff that "true" happiness will be right around the corner.

We say things like, "I'll be happy when I get that house!" or "I'll be happy when I get that new car!" But happiness cannot be bought. Sure fun—in the form of a house, a car, a new LCD television—can be bought, but fun is temporary. True happiness, or contentment, is lasting.

You can get out of debt, save money, and get on a budget, but until you realize that stuff doesn’t bring contentment, you will always feel stressed and unhappy. Contentment brings peace. And isn’t this time of year about bringing "peace on earth and good will toward men"?

Remember what this deal is all about. It's not about trees, lights, gifts, baked hams, and shopping malls. It’s about a little child who was born in a manger and grew up to die on a cross. It’s about peace on earth and good will toward men.

So if the Christmas frenzy is wearing you out, you've missed the point of Christmas. Make a plan with your money, and make a plan to get back in touch with the true meaning of this special day.

You are invited to Dave's Give Like No One Else Christmas at DaveRamsey.com. Daily giveaways and great articles will make you want to check back every day to see what's new.


Peace and blessings to you as you prepare yourself for a contented Christmas!

Get well! Stay well!