Welcome to the blog!

Thanks for checking out my guest post at Weaving Influence.  Over there I discuss the levers of influence anyone can use to get more done as well as gain greater influence.

Dsparks_ProfileWeaving Influence is an awesome organization that “partners with authors and thought leaders to grow their online influence and market their books.”  Some of my earliest interactions with their organization had to do with Mark Miller and the release of two of his books.  They are a first class organization.

If this is your first time here, I’d like to encourage you to check out a couple of posts to get a feel for what I write about, sign-up to receive post updates, and follow me on twitter.  Some of the most frequent topics I share about are leadership, servant based leadership, workplace culture, and good people doing good things.

  1. “What is your YES?”
  2. “Project Prayer With Ngina Otiende”
  3. “Life Lessons Unleash Greatness”

 

The Methods of Personal #Growth

If you are reading this, its likely you have decided to: do more,  be more, and achieve more – which is great!

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Legendary motivator Jim Rohn famously said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”  If you are interested in making a greater impact in life and on the world, you know you must grow.

The good news is Dan Black has written a new book, The Little Book on Personal Growth.  In it he gives you the various concepts of personal growth, and outlines how to take those concepts and use them.

One area of the book stood out to me above all others – Personal Growth Methods.  In this section of the book Dan details method after method anyone can use to grow personally.  This is Dan’s speciality.  When he talks about methods of personal growth there is a reason to listen: he uses them everyday, and has been for over a decade.  As you read through this section you will begin to understand that when it comes to personal growth, Dan practices what he preaches, as I have watched him over the last four years.

This chapter is highlighted by nine methods: Reading, Audio, Coaching, Solid Relationships, Conferences, Formal Education, Stop and Watch, Practice, and lastly Sharing and Teaching.  In each section Dan Black lists a reasonable and realistic way you can apply each method.  For instance in the section on Solid Relationships, Dan writes “To cultivate thriving relationships identify people who are competent in the skill you want to grow or who are successful in the field you are in.”

If you’re interested in personal growth, Dan Black knows how to grow and is someone you should follow.  What you will find is that Dan has done his homework and consistently provides content that can help you on your journey to greater impact.  Check out his just released book here: “The Little Book on Leadership”.

How #Hosting Orphan Children Changed Our Lives

A few years ago, my wife and I were in the middle of adoption paperwork waiting to adopt our second child internationally, and third overall.  We decided that while we were waiting we should host two kids from a foreign country.  An older girl and older boy.

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People thought we were crazy.

Maybe we were.

Then we did it again.  We hosted two more teenage boys, as well as another in the middle of it because of required international business travel by another family.

Following that we adopted two teenagers, and hosted another child.

Our family size is now 2 adults and four children.  We don’t have all the answers but we believe that serving as a host family is a critical service.  We get to touch the lives of children who have faced a unique hardship.  It’s not easy.  It’s not always pretty.  And it’s certainly not glamorous.  And they touch our lives.

Now its another time where the opportunity to host presents itself.  We’ve chosen once again to host, and host two.  A child from China and a separate child from Ukraine.

As in the past, we’d appreciate your support.

Find out more:

http://host2change.blogspot.com

Great #Bicycle Giveaway

*MAJOR UPDATE*  All the funds were raised!

Recently our family participated in the “Great Bicycle Giveaway” and we came up short for the second year in a row.

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Why would you need to do a bicycle giveaway?  You may think an average American family of six would just go to a local retailer and pick up a bicycle just like everyone else.  There are several reasons that solution just doesn’t work for us.

The main reason is because our daughter is blind.  She has been blind since birth,  She’s not low vision, she’s NO VISION.  It’s something that challenges her and our family on a daily basis.

Yet our daughter is more than simply a blind girl.  She has excellent grades, has been student of the week, and sings in her top choir at school.  Just let that sink in for a moment.  She can’t read or even see the notes and words, yet learns them by ear.  Ever seen music in braille?  I haven’t yet.

These are just a few things from school.

Did I mention she roller skates with mom?  She can climb to the top of the portable rock walls.

Unfortunately, a lot of people without knowing her, just look at her and assume she can’t do this activity, or can’t do that activity.  They don’t challenge her to do more, and be more, to not be defined by blindness.

Our sister-in-law set up a page to help us and our daughter do something most people would say a blind person will never do – ride a bicycle.

Please share our story and desire.  We’re super close to getting a specially adapted bicycle.  Any help, any prayers, any sharing, whatever it is you feel compelled to do – we’d greatly appreciate.

Check it out here.

Change A Life Forever – #Hosting

There is a world of pain, hurt, and loneliness.  It’s not confined to any one group, to any economic status, or any continent.  It is felt however by one single group – orphans.

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There are several kids participating in a host program waiting for anyone to bring them to America for the summer.  The thing about it is these kids are in a unique situation, they are older children.  This means most people are totally scared and that the likelihood of them finding forever families is significantly reduced.

My family and I have participated in host programs since 2013.  We’ve hosted special needs children, boys and girls, and ages from 7 to 16.  Each has presented their own unique challenge, but each has left us with wonderful memories.  We have also adopted after participating in a host program, but it’s not a requirement.

I am sharing this because there are two kids who are waiting to be hosted and I strongly believe it could be the greatest experience for a family.

Please share this post, consider hosting, and share support for those who are opening their homes, families, and hearts to children in need of a mom and dad.  Offer them at least a glimpse of love, and it is sure to change both your lives.

Here are some links to find out more:

https://www.facebook.com/Guglielmos.Hope/photos/pcb.1213964825289371/1213964075289446/?type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/Guglielmos.Hope/photos/a.212939052058625.60469.208135315872332/1214016805284173/?type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/Guglielmos.Hope/photos/a.212939052058625.60469.208135315872332/1214016811950839/?type=3&theater

 

Under New Management – From Silos to Networks – David Burkus

This original post was inspired by concepts from chapter six of Under New Management. This case study examines Proctor & Gamble’s attempts to turn around their lagging business by abandoning its culture of secrecy and embracing an open, collaborative environment where ideas could be shared – even from outside.

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From Silos to Networks: How Proctor & Gamble Shed its Culture of Secrecy and Created a Non-noncompete Environment

Noncompete clauses in employment contracts is a practice as old as business itself. Evidence suggests however, that noncompete clauses hurt not only departing employees but also those who stay with the company as well as the company itself. That’s why more and more leaders are creating non-noncompete environments in which information is shared freely, even with outsiders.

Between the positive effect of mobility on individual employees’ motivation and productivity and the positive increases to intellectual capital for firms even when employees depart, an increasing amount of evidence favors companies and leaders who offer more freedom to their people. They benefit from creating non-noncompete environments — cultures where ideas are openly shared even with people outside of the organization.

A program developed by Proctor & Gamble has taken the idea of the non-noncompete environment to another level of commitment. For many decades, P&G was noted for its culture of secrecy, including strict rules for conversations about company products and programs outside of the workplace and rules against conversations with employees of competitors. Not surprisingly, that level of secrecy led to stagnation in the P&G product line and a decline in innovation.

By 2000 the effect of that decline had even affected the company’s financials as the company saw its stock price drop by more than 50%. In 2000 the company leadership fell to A. G. Lafley, a longtime P&G executive. His vision for turning the company around involved also turning the culture of secrecy around. Lafley believed that, to stay competitive, the company had to recognize that it needed its competitors. He calculated that, instead of P&G’s 7,500-person research and development operation, there were potentially over one million people whose knowledge the company needed to tap into. So “Research and Development”   became “  Connect+Develop.”

The goal of Connect+Develop was to have over 50 percent of Proctor & Gamble’s innovation coming from ideas generated or developed outside of the company. To achieve this, P&G needed to replace its silos and walls with networks. The company created several lines of communication with academic researchers, suppliers, and sometimes even competitors dedicated to finding and cross-pollinating ideas. The goal was to work on ideas that could meet the needs of consumers, whether or not the idea came from in-house, and develop those ideas adjacent to an existing P&G brand. For example, P&G partnered with the Italian chemical company Zobele to build up its Febreze brand by launching several new air-freshening products under the Febreze name. The partnership would be credited with turning Febreze into a $1 billion brand name, and it wouldn’t have been possible without partnering with an Italian chemical company that, under the old mentality, would have been a competitor.

Connect+Develop has worked so well that the company launched its own online portal where anyone could submit ideas. Instead of forbidding conversations with competitors, the company is now committed to partnering with anyone, from research labs and academia to competitors large and small. This turnaround in mind-set was accompanied by a financial turnaround as well. Since launching Connect+Develop, P&G has more than climbed back from its decline in valuation, much of which has been due to hitting Lafley’s target: more than 50 percent of P&G product initiates now rely on collaboration outside of the company.

Companies such as Proctor & Gamble have embraced the idea of the non-noncompete environment, benefitting greatly from a culture in which employees can openly share information, even when they’re no longer employees. The experiences of these companies provide an encouraging example of current research in practice. Despite the apparent ubiquity of noncompete clauses, evidence from economics and psychology suggests that the benefits of noncompetes usually fail to outweigh the costs on the people who sign them and on the companies that promote them. Greater benefits, in fact, come from giving talent and information real freedom and building non-noncompete environments.

*****

David Burkus is the author of the forthcoming Under New Management. He is host of the Radio Free Leader podcast and associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University. Please visit his website at www.davidburkus.com.

 

Cultivating Great and Amazing #Experiences

Recently my wife and I visited Waco, TX the home of Chip and Joanna Gaines owners of Magnolia Homes and Magnolia Market.  Chances are you have heard of or seen them on their HGTV show “Fixer Upper”.

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What we found when we visited their shop located at “The Silos” impressed us on every side.  Their building is beautiful.  Their location is family friendly with ample room for kids to run, as well as on site food options in the form of food trucks.  Lastly, but most critical was their store’s customer service.  Everyone was smiling, working, and friendly.

How does a trip to Waco, TX fit with this blog?  What can we learn?  Two words.

Experience.  Memories.

The environment created by the Magnolia Market at The Silos in Waco, TX allowed our family to have both an excellent experience, and create memories as a family.

This forces the question – what are we doing in our interactions with customers,  coworkers, and family members that creates an environment for positive experiences and good memories?  Are we designing our organizations with this is mind?  I’d love to hear your opinion, or a story of an organization that gets this point through and through.

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