Archive for August, 2008

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The Only Thing We Own Outright

August 25, 2008

There was a gentleman I trained under while working for a local bank while in college. “Mr. B” as he was called, was an older man who was a commercial lender for the institution and was to train me on how to make business calls. I knew Mr. B, as did everyone at the bank, because it seemed like he knew everyone and everyone knew him. Business deals sought him out with very little effort on his part. So when HR told me I was to train under him, I remember thinking to myself, “Now here is a true leader in the industry, what an opportunity.”

Mr. B had so much knowledge and I positioned myself as a sponge ready to absorb every ounce of it. I dressed like he did… well almost like he did! I would answer my phone using his little catch phrases and took notes on every action he did. I was going to make it in the banking industry, and Mr. B was going to teach me how.

There was one day I had the opportunity to pick Mr. B’s brain with the one question I wanted the answer to more than anything. So I posed the question to him one day at lunch, expecting a very deep and profound answer.

“Mr. B, what is the best piece of advice you could give me to be the leader of the bank… like you.”

Without even so much as a blink, Mr. B answer very resounded, “Call everyone by name.”

Ok, so here was the mega brain of all bank sales for my city and all he gave me was that? I sat and pondered for a little while before I asked my follow up question, “What?”

From there, Mr. B began to tell me how the main reason for his success was that he treated everyone as an individual. He believed in the Platinum Rule of treating everyone the way they want to be treated. Then, after his preface, he said a statement to me that still shapes how I approach people from a leadership perspective. “If you know someone’s name, you know the one part of them they own outright.” I had never thought about that in such a way.

Take a moment to think about your last jaunt to the grocery store. Did someone in there even acknowledge you were breathing? Chances are in this world, the answer is no. We have become so detached from the interpersonal connection all of us need and yearn for. Our name is all we have and it is something we own. Many of us chase fantastic dreams of establishing a legacy behind our name so when people think of our name, they equate it with either success, or fame, or family. So much put into such a small portion of us, and it is a portion we constantly overlook or go out of our way to acknowledge.

There is a song I love, just because of its simplicity. See the lyrics below:

He Knows My Name
Words and Music by Tommy Walker

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

Chorus
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He’ll never leave me
No matter where I go

Chorus
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call

I’ve always loved this song, but it took on new meaning and love to me after I witnessed a mission video from the Philippines. The guy leading the mission was talking about this song and one of the 10 year olds in the choir made up of orphans from a local facility asked if he could sing the song by himself. I sat in absolute humility and awe as this child, whom the world had forsaken, sang from his heart to the heart of God. He took such a sweet pride and elevated tone when he got to the, “HE knows my name.” How amazing was it to me that this child took no other joy than in knowing that His Savior knew his name. Could you say the same?

So if it is that precious to someone who has nothing, only their name, what does that mean for those of us who are leaders? It should mean that we go out of our way to call someone by their name. Even Jesus gave the woman with the hemorrhage her time with him, even when she did not feel she deserved it. Jesus called Lazarus by name out of the tomb. He called Peter to walk on the water, Paul to the mission field, and Thomas to see and believe. All of this was done by our Savior, and he took the time to call them by name. Why? To further prove that he knows us intimately.

So if you are a leader today, no matter what capacity, take a moment to recognize someone by name. If you need a favor, call the individual by name. If you are starting with some feedback for them, whether positive or negative, use their name. Even in court, the first thing you are required to do is “State your name.” Show those you lead that you know them intimately and are willing to follow the leadership Christ provided in something as simple as a name.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Leadership-Jeremiah 17 Style

August 22, 2008

My daily Bible reading the other day was Jeremiah 17. I have a particular fondness for Jeremiah in general since God revealed His mission for me ten years ago in my quiet time with him showing me Jeremiah 1:1-10. Now I say daily devotion and most probably think I follow a book, but I just don’t work that way. I truly enjoy just opening the Bible every morning and waiting to see what Christ has decided for me to read. It never fails, He’s always dead on target with what I need.

So yesterday morning, I went outside to sit on my porch with Bible in hand and the subject of Leadership on my mind. Lo and behold, I turn to Jeremiah 17. The following verses really struck me:

7[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.

8For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.

9The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?(A)

10I the Lord search the mind, I try the heart, even to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

11Like the partridge that gathers a brood which she did not hatch and sits on eggs which she has not laid, so is he who gets riches by unjust means and not by right. He will leave them, or they will leave him, in the midst of his days, and at his end he will be a fool.

As a leader, I know there have been more than a billion times I have sought to attain riches on my own accord, using my own methods. As I sit and look over the past few years, I can tell you, the riches of this earth definitely leave you with little or no warning. But wow, now that I have truly focused my leadership abilities on Christ, there are times I can relate to the “tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river.”

Have you ever known one of those leaders who just don’t waiver in the roughest of storms? They seem valiant in any situation, poised for victory, no matter what the crisis is? I think of several leaders I have worked for who earnestly sought God and knew Him in a personal manner, seeking Him daily in His word. One such leader is the CEO of Integrity Music (www.integritymusic.com). “Mike” was just one of us really, a humble yet brilliant man. He was always eager to share what Christ had shown him that morning, that week, or in his life. People flocked to him and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that like me, they would have followed Mike to the fire pit if he asked. That is leadership! However, looking back, it was Christ’s presence, manifested through Mike’s actions, that drew us. We felt better knowing Mike’s decisions were usually inspired by or approved by God. This left little room for challenge.

My challenge to myself and my challenge to you as a Christian leader is to always dig deep, get a firm rooting in the refreshing waters of Christ through His Word, or His music, or just your quiet time with him. If you do that, you will begin to see new, bright green branches sprout in your life. No matter the drought of the economy, or the storms of life, you will not be moved… as long as you are rooted in Christ. Be Blessed!

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Dealing with Conflict-Coaching through Adversity

August 21, 2008

There is a great method to handling objections or simply dealing with conflict in a way that is beneficial to both parties. I know from my own experiences, handling tough conversations can be some of the most anxious situations to live through as a manager, team member or HR Professional. So how do you do it?

There is a great strategy I actually learned while in the Sales Function that is more than applicable. The method is as follows:
Cushion
Clarify
Confirm
Answer
Confirm

1. Cushion: Empathize or sympathize with the other party. This is a great way to diffuse potential issues and open up the communication highway. Example: “I understand this must be difficult for you to hear…”
2. Clarify: Ask questions to be sure you understand the root of the problem and not just a symptom. Someone’s chronic tardiness is the symptom of a larger problem. Perhaps they have had some family issues arise that you don’t know about or simply has misunderstood what time they should appear for work. Asking probing questions also buys you some points and removes the “accusatory” tone that coaching sessions often take.
3. Confirm: After you have truly gotten the root of the problem, restate it to the other party to be sure you have understood it clearly and ask for buy in.
4. Answer: This is the portion that with the other steps followed correctly, can seal the deal and ensure at least an honest attempt at communicating the coaching or reprimand in a positive light. (Positive meaning the other side actually “gets it” and makes efforts to change.) In this step, be sure to lay out expectations, deadlines as well as ramifications.
5. Confirm: It sounds silly, however, restating what the goals, objectives and topics covered in the coaching session and asking for confirmation verbally from the other side can seriously increase the potential for buy in or a change in behavior. This is a critical step and depending upon the stage of the coaching session, be sure to make sure you have documentation notating the discussion in case you have to take the coaching to the next level.

Hope this is helpful to you! And as always, if you are one of our Leadership Masterpiece Institute partners, you can engage our help prior to such discussions as part of your association fee. We love to help, but need to know when you need it! Always remember Ephesians 4:29 when using the above method and “speak the truth in love.” Good luck!

_________________________________________________________________

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.