Celebrating 100!

This is the 100th post for Engager Dynamics! Whoo Whoo … celebrate good times, c’mon!” I love that song! Anyway, it’s the 100th post since I’ve been numbering them like I currently do. I write my posts in Evernote then copy and paste them into my website engagerdynamics.com with wordpress. WordPress automatically posts them to LinkedIn and I paste the link into my facebook profile manually since facebook stopped allowing automatic postings awhile ago. I recently created a facebook business page for Engager Dynamics and am working on improving that. I said “at least since I’ve been numbering them the way I do” because WordPress tells me I’ve actually posted 107 times. That’s because I posted a few extras in the middle of the week that I numbered with an “a” after the main post number.

What’s It All About?

I’ve been providing contracted services to clients in multiple industries for over 20 years. In some of those engagements we provided staff who were supervised by the client’s leadership team. It was particularly clear in those situations how strongly lack of engagement negatively impacted the business. I’ve observed that same negative impact within organizations I’ve worked for as well as within partner organizations. Those who really engage are rare and that bothers me. So, I decided to add value by sharing some important truths I’ve learned along the way and that’s what got me started with this blog.

I normally post every Monday morning before 6 AM on the west coast. In my second post, nearly two years ago, I defined what I mean by Engager Dynamics. In short, this blog is about the things we can do to connect or engage with people at work in ways that improve relationships and organizational outcomes. The posts fall into four main categories;

  1. Engager Dynamics (the core actions that lead to engagement)
  2. Leadership (topics a little more broadly about leadership)
  3. Habit Formation (how to make a habit of doing the good stuff)
  4.  Listening (a skill so critical it deserves its own category)

You can find the last 15 posts in each category listed on my “Posts by Category” page. Some of them overlap and there is another category on that page called “Words.” I call myself a word nerd, and this category captures posts where I share a specific word definition or two regardless of the main topic.

What’s Next?

Over the last few years I’ve developed a training that has been well received by several clients. The training focuses on the specific actions leaders can take to engage with their people. I’ve been refining the training lately and recently did an informal poll of readers to see which title would be more interesting. I had two choices 1. “Best.Boss.Ever. – How to Be the Best Boss Your People Will Ever Have” or 2. “The 12 Transformational Laws of Engagement.” Just over 70% preferred number 2.

The next question is delivery method. In addition to offering the training in person, I’d like to make it available more widely. I wonder how people might prefer to receive it. I could present it in an e-book, or as an audio file series, or as a series of videos. What do you think? If you were interested in a teaching on “The 12 Transformational Laws of Engagement,” how would you prefer to receive it? Thanks in advance for letting me know.

God’s Indescribable Gift

There was a problem with the audio on Sunday so they won’t be posting the video of the talk. With my apologies, here’s the gist of what I spoke about.

Have you ever received a gift that left you speechless? It was so extravagant, or so unexpected, or so personal, or so … that you didn’t have words.

Suzi and I were childless for the first six years of our marriage and had more than one miscarriage. God gave us a family through the miracle of adoption. That’s how we felt each time we looked into the face of one of our adopted children for the first time.

That’s also how I felt that night on December 7, 1979 under the lightly falling snow on the corner of Dearborn and Chestnut Streets in Chicago when I asked Suzi to marry me and she said, “Yes”.

Paul had that reaction in 2CO 9:15. He is writing about financial assistance to those in need. That leads him to talk about how God supplies and he ends with the exclamation “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift”. The gift he’s talking about is called in another translation “unspeakable.” It’s unutterable, it’s inexpressible, it’s incomprehensible, it’s extraordinary because it’s paradoxical. Let me show you what I mean. Here are four Paradoxes of God’s Indescribable Gift …

This gift is given to everyone but only a few receive it

You could say It has been delivered to every front porch (or version thereof) on the planet – in fact it’s said to be knocking at the door, but many people don’t receive it, Why?

  • Some reject it – they mark it “Return to sender” because they don’t trust the giver or they’re angry with him for something that happened to them. They don’t realize God is not the author of bad things and is the one waiting to help
  • Some don’t know about it – someone needs to tell them what that knocking is at the front door.
  • Some don’t “need” it – what do you give the person who has everything?
  • Some ignore it – they have no time, or no interest

In John 1:12 the disciple John says that to all who do receive this gift, God gave the right to become children of God. When you adopt a child, you appear in court and the judge asks you if you are willingly receiving this child into your family with all the rights, privileges, and access of a fully legal member of the family including being heir to your estate. The answer, of course, is YES! John is saying that those who receive his gift have the full rights, privileges and access to God as a fully legal child including being heirs to the throne of heaven!

This gift is absolutely free, but it will cost you everything

You can’t buy it – this offer is not available in stores (or online for that matter) You can’t get it at Amazon, there is no auction on e-Bay, Wal-Mart doesn’t carry it. You won’t find it at Nordstrom. Even Neiman Marcus doesn’t carry it. The price is too high. You couldn’t afford it. No one but God could afford to pay for it.

You can’t earn it. In Luke 18 a young man came to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to [earn the gift]?” Jesus gave him an answer not to say, “Do this and you’ll earn it,” but to demonstrate how impossible it is to earn the gift.

You can’t bargain for it – You’ve heard of foxhole conversions, “God, if you get me out of this, I’ll start going to church (or whatever the promise might be)!” That doesn’t work. Neither does God say, ‘ll give you this gift if you do that for me. It’s not a quid pro quo transaction.

When you receive it, and you have to actively receive this gift. You have to sign for it at the door. There is no auto deposit. When you receive this gift, it changes you. This is not a gift you can just stick in your back pocket, or hang around your neck, or put up in the closet. When you take hold of this gift, it takes hold of you. It gets inside your head. It gets inside your heart and begins to change you from the inside out. In one place, the bible says just looking at this gift transforms you. The word “transform” is metamorphosis. Just like a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, this gift begins to transform your character.

You could say this gift will cost you who you are today to become who you were meant to be. That will Cost you time. It will cost you energy. It will cost you money. It may cost you friends. It has cost many their lives. Read Hebrews 11 in the New Testament, or Foxe’s book of Martyrs. Many of you know the story of Jim Elliott.

When you receive this gift, it also changes your trajectory. People who do not receive it are on a trajectory away from God. But this gift

  • Redeems your life from bondage
  • Restores your soul
  • Remakes your brokenness
  • Resurrects you from spiritual deadness, and
  • Returns you to the one who gave it forever

This gift is given to you, but it is not for you

You’re supposed to re-gift this gift. The words from a song that plays at Christmas are, “Last Christmas I gave you my heart. The very next day, you gave it away.” In the song that’s a bad thing, but God says “Yes! Give it away the very next day, and the day after that, and the day after that.

None of God’s gits is intended to flow into you like a reservoir, they’re all intended to flow through you like a river to benefit others. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

One of the ironies of this gift is that it grows in value as you give it away. You reap all the benefits of the gift and as you give it away, you get more of it. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.

This gift is not a what It’s a whom

This gift is not a thing. Some treat it like an insurance policy, or like a certificate of membership is some club.

This is God’s gift of Jesus and all he is and does and has and brings when he is received. In the Bible names are significant. They speak of character and position and resources. Jesus is called by many names in the Bible. At this time of year we think especially of “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” I love the title King; King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In the front of my journal I’ve written, “I serve at the pleasure of the King.”

In 1981, Suzi and I were in our first year of marriage. It was my senior year at Moody Bible Institute. In February of that year, Suzi and I attended Moody’s Founder’s week, a week long Bible conference. During one of the sessions we attended, S.M. Lockridge spoke. His message was entitled, “Amen.” During that message he delivered this now famous description of the indescribable Jesus! It’s been memorialized as a modernized video here

During that video, pastor Lockridge asked several times, “Do you know him?” At this Christmas time I wonder, too, have you opened the door and signed for the gift God has delivered to you? There would be no better time than now.

The Attitude of Gratitude

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to a group of new friends at Grace Community Church in Lathrop, CA. This is Thanksgiving week so I shared about Thanksgiving. It wasn’t about turkey and pilgrims, though. It was about the Attitude of Thanksgiving. Anyone who knows me at all, knows I’m a word nerd so here you go, the definition of Attitude is – “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.” I called it the Attitude of Gratitude. We explored two questions about the Attitude of Gratitude, Why? and How?

Why Be Grateful?

There are more reasons to be grateful then there is space to write about, but I shared four in particular:

First, The attitude of gratitude is good for you. Studies have shown that consistent gratitude is good for your mental health and physical well-being. Grateful people are better looking! Think about the most ungrateful person you know. Picture their face. Now picture a consistently grateful person. Who looks better? Grateful people have more friends because gratitude is attractive of positive relationships. Grateful people get more stuff because it’s way more fun to give to a grateful person.

Second, the attitude of gratitude is aligned with reality. The more we align our thinking and living with reality (some call it truth), the better our lives will be. This reality is that everything you have is a gift. I know you’ve all worked hard and earned your way. But, think of this question, how hard did you work to start your heart in your mother’s womb? Or, think of this question, how hard did you work to make sure your parents met? With everything that had to happen, the fact that any of us is even here is a miracle. Our lives are a gift, gratitude is the appropriate response to a gift. Your mama taught you that.

Third, the attitude of gratitude is the antidote to entitlement. We are living in a culture of entitlement (word nerd alert): “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” Entitlement is like a poison that withers people and cultures. It hollows them out and makes them weak. Entitlement is the epitome of ingratitude. Developing gratitude is the antidote. For the sake of ourselves, our children and our culture, we need to become a grateful people.

Fourth, the attitude of gratitude is a mark of obedience. The apostle Paul writes in two places in the New Testament of the Bible: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be Thankful.” Colossians 3:15. And, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. God’s commands always have a practical “why.” See the first three reasons for the attitude of gratitude for examples

How Can We Be Grateful?

I approached this question from three angles.

First, how can I have gratitude when bad stuff is happening to me? This is where the rubber meets the road for most of us. We all know about bad stuff happening in our lives. “Feel the burn” is a way of looking at the physical suffering of exercise as a positive thing. It means that our endurance is increasing. The physical suffering of exercise produces endurance that proves itself on the field or court when you perform. Seeing that progress of endurance and improved performance makes you feel good about the result like, “maybe there’s hope for me after all!” The same is true with character (check out Romans 5:1-5 in the New Testament, google it).

Second, how can I develop gratitude? Simply put, train your brain. Experts say we have 50K – 80K thoughts per day. Wow! fortunately our brains filter those thoughts so that we are often aware of only a fraction of them. The filter you have is either developed by your circumstances or you can adjust it yourself by what you think about. Your life gravitates in the direction of your most dominant thoughts like a flower grows toward the sun. We become what we think most about. You have the ability to choose what to think about. As the apostle Paul said, again, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” Try keeping a daily journal of what went well today and what you are thankful for. Study that journal on a weekly basis. That will help train your brain and adjust your filter.

Finally, how can I express gratitude? Use your words. Say “please” and “thank you” often. Use your gifts. When you use the gifts you’ve been given (physical or spiritual) it honors the giver. Finally, use your body. You had to be there yesterday to get the experience, but suffice it to say we practice expressing our gratitude to God for his goodness in the same way we express our excitement over our sports teams.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Trust But/And/Or Verify?

During the time leading up to the signing of the INF Treaty in December of 1987, President Ronald Reagan learned a Russian proverb, Doveryai, no proveryai meaning, “Trust but Verify.” He learned it because he knew the Russians liked referring to proverbs and he said it at every nuclear disarmament meeting with the Soviet leader. When he said it again on December 8, 1987 at the signing ceremony, Gorbachev said, “You repeat that at every meeting.” Reagan answered, “I like it.” Mr. Gorbachev had a quote of his own. He quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had been popular in the USSR when Gorbachev was in college, saying “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”

Which is it? Trust or Verify?

You can’t do both. Think about the definitions of each word and you’ll see they are mutually exclusive. “Trust” means “to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” On the other hand, “Verify” means “to prove or ascertain the truth or correctness of, as by examination, research, or comparison.” When you trust someone you act on your faith in their reliability, truthfulness, ability or strength. When you verify, your action is to check on the reliability, truthfulness, ability or strength of that person. Trust builds relationships, verification assures outcomes. That’s the heart of the matter. Verifying can be interpreted as “Micro-managing” and can destroy trust.

There are some times and some industries where the outcomes are too critical not to verify. Some of those industries include Healthcare, Aviation, Utilities, etc. You can see how verification in these industries would be essential. In settings where verification is just part of the work, it doesn’t have a negative effect on relationships. On the other hand, most of us don’t work in those types of industries.

What Difference Does Trust Make?

“If every business learned to create a profound sense of trust through everything they do, not only would their bottom line improve but it would create a culture that attracts great talent and opportunities. Consciously creating trust is good for business, good for people and good for the world.” Masami Sato, Founder, B1G1

That quote comes from an online endorsement for a book titled Trust is the New Currency, by Sheila Holt and Fredrick Sandvall. According to the title of Stepen M.R. Covey’s book trust matters, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. Then there’s Nan Russell’s book, Trust, Inc. How to Create a Business Culture that will Ignite Passion, Engagement, and Innovation.

One of John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is “The Law of Solid Ground.” It says that leadership is built on the foundation of trust. In fact, he says, trust is necessary in all good relationships.

Trust is very important. We trust airlines and surgeons because they verify. We trust our bosses because they trust us. One of the ways trust is built is by giving it. When you are the boss and the outcomes are not life threatening, try giving trust to your people.  You will find they usually become even more trustworthy.

When Winning Can Be Losing

It’s been said that public speaking is the number one fear among Americans. It outranks death (#5) and loneliness (#7) by quite a bit. I saw evidence of that recently when I was at a conference in Orlando where everyone at the conference was required to give a 5 minute speech. There were over 3,000 people at that conference. We only had to give the speech to the eight people at our table but you would have thought it was to the whole conference when you heard people talk about how nervous they were before the speech session.

One of the conference instructors got up in front of the whole group and, knowing how nervous people were, gave some good advice about the speech. “Get over yourself,” he said. He pointed out that we were nervous about what people were going to think of us, whether we would do a good job, whether we might make a mistake or run short or too long. He went on to say that we should focus on what value our words would bring to the others at the table. If that were the focus of our speech (or the purpose of our life), it re-frames everything. My speech ran 20 seconds short, by the way.

Get Over Yourself

That advice brings to mind a couple of quotes. John Holmes said, “It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” Wow! Think on that for a minute. That quote puts this one by Eleanor Roosevelt into a new perspective. “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

It’s fair to say that with 7.7 billion people on the planet, it’s no all about me. Let me narrow it down. With 7 people in my family, it’s not all about me. If that’s true (which it is), then we could also say that with X number of people in my organization or Y number of people in my department or on my team, it’s not all about me. Yet, so often with think and behave as though we believe it is all about us. Think about this. What’s the first thing we do when we look at a group picture we’re in? We look for ourselves and say, “That’s a great shot”, if we look good no matter if Uncle Harry has his eyes closed. Right?

I ran across the John Holmes quote in a book by John Maxwell called Intentional Living. The book is about living a life of significance on purpose. Significance, as Maxwell defines it, comes in adding value to others. In a recent post about “selfies” I wrote about how being selfish or self-centered can ruin your team. Success alone can be hollow. Significance never is.

A Pyrrhic Victory

A Pyrrhic victory is one where the cost of winning the battle could lose you the war and it’s the main reason I wanted to write this post. Over the years I’ve run across the wreckage of many who have won battles only to lose in the end. Most often what’s lost is relationships. What was won? Usually an argument, someone had to be right and prove it at literally any cost.

The common theme I hear when I talk to people who have lost because they won is regret. Usually what they lost turns out to have been more valuable to them than what they won.  By the time they’ve realized it, it’s too late. I’m writing to encourage all of us to “get over ourselves” and focus on what we can do to build others up. That’s the real win.

How Your Selfie Could Ruin Your Team

I’m driving home from a fun shopping trip with my wife and two youngest children the other day, when my daughter leans up from the back seat. “Here Mom, Let’s take a selfie.” The next thing I hear is, “Aw, c’mon, Mom!” Apparently “Mom” has made a silly face in the picture, again (this was the 3rd try). To which “Mom” replied, “I don’t want you posting any of those. I don’t like my picture taken. For my generation selfies weren’t a thing and many of us are uncomfortable with them.” She knows the silly face is just as postable as the smiling face (maybe more so) but she also knows our daughter will respect her wishes.

I’m in a meeting with some leaders who are talking about building rapport and collaboration across teams on a particular project. One of the leaders asks about ways to build rapport. I suggest, “Ask for help.” Some of them in the room look at me like I have three eyes. This team is older and more experienced than the team with which they’re trying to collaborate. By some measures they’re out performing the other team. Why, they’re wondering, would we ask THEM for help?

Why Would you?

The answer, in a word, is Humility. Now, as John Maxwell points out,

When people talk about leadership, they don’t use the word “humility” very often. More likely, they describe a leader as strong or focused or ambitious. They would probably say the leader is confident or assertive. “Humble” may not ever come up, and if it does, it might not be used as a compliment.

But, what is humility? The online dictionary defines it as, “a modest or low view of one’s own importance.” C.S. Lewis says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Another explanation of humility says, “humility is not putting yourself down, it’s lifting others up.”

Someone has said, “Contrast is the mother of clarity.” So, what’s the opposite of Humility? Arrogance? Self-Centeredness? Sure, especially when you look up arrogant, “having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.”

Who would you rather work with? Someone who is comfortable enough with themselves that they don’t need to draw attention to their accomplishments but is willing and working to lift you up, or someone who says, “Enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think about me?” You know the type. The answer is obvious.

Tying it Together

In the meeting with leaders I flipped the last question. I was asking that team, “Are you the kind of leaders the other team would want to work with?” By demonstrating genuine humility you build rapport and invite collaboration. Arrogance repels both.

I began this post talking about a selfie. I don’t really get the whole selfie thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked past a car full of people ignoring each other because they’re each taking one selfie after another (and looking at them and smiling). But, it’s not about selfies per se. I’m using the selfie as a metaphor for the kind of leadership that can destroy a team.

What’s the Value?

Value is an interesting word. It can mean,  “a person’s (or organization’s) principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” That’s what it typically means when we talk about “Core Values.” But, It can also mean,  “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” What I find interesting is how those two meanings relate to each other. The first meaning, one’s principles, standards of behavior, etc affects the second meaning, the importance, worth, or usefulness especially of and organization.
 

Some of My Values

 When I started working with an organization awhile ago, I shared some of my core values with the leadership team early on. I once heard someone say that “contrast is the mother of clarity” so I also like to share what I think are the opposite of the values to help explain what I mean. They are:
 
Integrity – “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, moral uprightness.” Also, it means, “the state of being whole and un-divided (as in the structural integrity of a building). The opposite of Integrity is dishonesty, division, fragility.
Hunger – When my 19 year old 6 foot 3 inch tall athlete son is hungry he is motivated. He will not stop until he gets something to eat. He also becomes very creative when h’s hungry. I value the burning desire to learn, grow, achieve, and generally get better at things. The opposite of Hunger is satisfied. When you’re satisfied, you become complacent.
Love – Putting others before oneself like a  good family (having each other’s back). Elements include: Patience (showing self-control), Kindness (giving attention, appreciation and encouragement), Humility (authentic, without pretense of arrogance), Respectfulness (treating others as important people), Forgiveness (giving up resentment when wronged), and Commitment (sticking to your choices). The opposite of Love is Self-Centeredness and Apathy.
There are other things I value, but this was a good list to focus on for the group.
I recently attended the John Maxwell Team International Maxwell Certification Event which is a 4-day leadership and coaching training certification. Part of the training was what they call the “JMT DNA.” It’s a list of 10 core values for their organization. I like the use of the term DNA to talk about core values because they truly do form the character and characteristics of the organization.

What Are Your Values?

Have you taken the time to measure what you value; what your values are? It would be a worthwhile exercise. Like DNA, the values we hold shape us and our organizations. The manifestation of those values will go a long way toward determining the value of the contributions you make to the lives of those around you as well as the value your organization brings to the market.
I’d love to hear about your values.

What’s in the Box?

We have four people in our house who will order something on Amazon or through some other online source from time to time. So, you never know when a box or package may show up on the porch. When you see a box on the porch and you’re not the one who ordered something, the response is almost always, “Ooh, what’s in the box?” You get really curios really fast.

Curiosity is defined as “A strong desire to know or learn something.” It is the driving force behind innovation and creativity. Some of the smartest and most influential people have had these things to say about curiosity.

“I have no special talent, I’m only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Albert Einstein

“The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.” Albert Einstein

“Creativity is Intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein – Curiosity is the fuel of creativity

“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” Sir Ken Robinson

“The most important thing a teacher can do for students is to keep their curiosity alive,” Ken Robinson. [see his TED talk on the subject. It’s the most watched TED talk of all time]

“The future belongs to the curious, the ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it, and turn it inside out.” Unkown

If all this is true, I wonder why more of us aren’t more curious.

Semper Gumby

Several years ago I worked with a team that adopted the slogan “Semper Gumby.” Borrowing the Latin word “Semper” from the U.S. Marine’s motto meaning “Always,” we added “Gumby” to fill out the meaning “Always Flexible.” The idea first came up as a joke after a client had asked for yet another change in the program of services this team was offering. We later came to realize that the nimble flexibility the team provided this client was precisely why they did business with them. They saw flexibility as a differentiating strength.

Making it Personal

The first year we lived in China, one of the veterans of overseas living said to me, “to be successful living in Asia, you have to be willing to live with ambiguity.” He was right. I learned that the more of my western expectations I was able to let go, the more I enjoyed the experience of living there and the more I learned. Put another way, the more flexible I was, the more I was able to grow. We saw some people who came to live and serve who lacked flexibility. Their brittleness quickly became brokenness.

Ambiguity and Flexibility are similar in meaning. Ambiguity means, “the quality of being open to more than one interpretation, inexactness. Flexibility means, “capable of bending easily without breaking; ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances.”

Microsoft developed a list of education competencies, one of them is “Dealing with Ambiguity.” They define that as: “Can effectively cope with change; can shift gears comfortably; can decide and act without having the total picture; can comfortably handle risk and uncertainty.”

If you’re familiar with the “True Colors” personality types, the above definition sounds like an Orange through and through. Our youngest son is an Orange. Ambiguity is his friend. He just returned from a three week trip to Europe with two of his high school buddies. They planned the trip almost as they went. He loved it.

Only 27% of the global population are Orange. Well over half of us have a personality type that prefers a more steady, measured approach to life. We don’t necessarily welcome change as a friend. On the other hand, most of us would acknowledge there are things we would like to get better at. We would like to grow. There is a well-known saying, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying” that has a lot of truth to it. Jack Welch put it this way, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

What Can We Do?

When you get up in the morning, or when you’re about to do something strenuous, what do you do? You stretch. Stretching loosens your muscles so you can use them without damaging them because they become more flexible.

The same thing is true with our minds. We can stretch them to become more flexible which will allow for growth. One simple stretch exercise I’ve done with people involves a mug. I pick up a white mug that has a logo on one side. I show it to the person or group across from me and ask them to describe it. From their point of view it’s a white mug with a handle on the left. When they’re done describing it, I disagree with them and describe the mug from my perspective. I describe the logo and the fact that the handle is on the right. You get the idea. We’re both right, it’s a matter of point of view. To expand on this idea, try using your imagination to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” Imagine what it must be like to be (fill in the blank).

Stretching means getting out of our comfort zones. If you’re an analytical type, read some poetry. If you’re poetic, do some math!

In his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John C. Maxwell writes about “The Law of the Rubber Band – Growth stops when you lose the tension between where you are and where you could be.”

Let’s stretch!