Learn Twitter Style: Twitter as a Leadership Tool

Face to face the two men stood.  They had been at each other’s throats all night.  One would make an over the top promise and almost immediately the other would trump him.  Higher and higher they soared.  Then, all of a sudden, the pitcher was starring the batter down.  No longer was his team enjoying the luxury of the large lead they’d held earlier.  It was his job to halt this surge the Giants before him were making.

Then just like that, my mind shifts again.  This time the shift was toward leadership and the role of influence within an organization.  You may think I’m crazy, I know my wife already does.  This is not some form of ADD rising up at a later age.  No, this is my brain on Twitter.  140 characters and 250 people make for an interesting string of diverse topics.  Each tweet is like a headline.  It’s an offering into the inspired.  Each tweet is a person’s thoughts, ideas, hopes, and desires.

I recently had a friend catch me replying to a follower on Twitter.  “Oh, you’re one of those Tweeter people huh?” he asked.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t “Tweeter.”  I did however explain to him that Twitter is a great tool for leaders and told him he should check out Michael Hyatt’s post on just that subject.

“I don’t need a megaphone to get my message out,” he responded.  I explained to him that, for me, Twitter is less of a megaphone and more like a hearing aid.  Sure, when I want to influence others, rarely do I have the opportunity to get my message out to 20,000 people unless I’m on Twitter.  But that’s not the point.  The point for me is the ability to listen.  Thanks to tweets and re-tweets, I have the opportunity to scroll through endless thoughts presented by others.  I call this the ability to Learn Twitter Style.

At one time I can see people’s thoughts on the Presidential Debate, NLCS Game 7, and Leadership; all in just a few 140 character posts.  This is why I love Twitter and how I Learn Twitter Style:

Follow, Follow, Follow – Some people don’t follow those who follow them.  My good friend Skip Prichard doesn’t believe in that.  He follows people who follow him simply because it means more opportunity for him to find like-minded people.  I have recently adopted this same principle.

Hashtag – Use hashtags such as #Leadership to search for topics.  See what people are saying about #PostSeason or #Debates.  This is a great way to find new people who you can follow (allow to influence you.)

Influence – Twitter is all about the conversation.  It’s not just your platform to influence others but your opportunity to be influenced by others.  I met @sunshinejess22 at a conference this year.  I decided to follow her for her humor and candor.  I’m glad I let her into my sphere of influence.

Discover – Find people whom you can Learn Twitter Style from.  Then, follow the people they follow.  Odds are, if you like this person, you’ll like the people they follow as well.

If you’re a good leader you understand that God gave to two ears and one mouth for a reason.  You should listen at least twice as much as you speak.  Twitter is a great way to do just that.  Even if you don’t want to Tweet yourself, you can at least follow people and begin to Learn.

My Review of Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus by Ruth Rosen

Called to Controversy details the life of famous evangelical missionary Moishe Rosen.  Rosen was born and raised in a Jewish family.  However, after marriage Moishe finds Christ.  Upon his convert to Christianity, his heart pulls him back to his fellow Jews.  This time as a missionary whose life purpose is to save the lost souls he was once a part of.

 

 

The book chronicles his works and offers an insight into his actions as he created what would soon become the world’s largest Christian outreach to the Jewish community.  Being written by Moishe’s own daughter the book allows a behind the scenes look that only a daughter could provide.

Personally I feel that the book lacked style and tempo.  For me, great writers can craft a story in such a way that the reader is engulfed by the wonder and amazement the story has to offer.  This book reads more like a college text book.  The overtly historical tone can lose some readers and make this book a bit of a chore.  The beginning of the book is a lineage map with background about the family.  It comes off almost like the “begets” of the Old Testament.

I lost interest in the book early and put it aside for a while.  After reading through a few more entertaining books I made another, more successful, attempt to finish.  The story is an inspiring one and leaves the reader motivated to do their part to save the lost souls of the world.  The writing style just makes it a little tough.  If you’re interested in missionary, I would recommend reading this book.

I picked up this book via Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze program.  It’s a great program that I encourage other bloggers who love to read to get involved in.  You can access the sign up page via the link below.

I review for BookSneeze®
If you’d be interested in purchasing a copy of the book, you may do so by accessing my bookshelf.

Run A 5k This Weekend

My church hosts an annual Boston Marathon Qualifier each year.  The event also includes shorter distances such as half-marathon and 10k.  You can also run a 5k, which is what I did.  The event benefits local community organizations but also benefits the health of the community.

Every year, hundreds of people spend countless hours pounding the road to prepare for this race.  This year was our first year.  My wife signed us up months in advance.  We both exercise frequently but we are by no means joggers.  The 5k was a perfect distance for us.

Several weeks before the race I decided I should run a 5k to prepare.  10 minutes, and one mile later, I was in excrutiating pain.  My hip was out of place and pinching a nerve in my back.  After a trip to the doctor I was out of service for the next two weeks!  I had to run a 5k in three weeks and here the doctor was telling me I couldn’t practice for 2 weeks!  This is when I decided to figure out a way to run a 5k with only 1 week to prepare.  Here is how to run a 5k this weekend:

Stretch – You’ll want to focus on your joints more than your muscles.  Your hip-flexors and knees are a priority.  This video does a good job of teaching you the stretches you need to do.  Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.  Repeat this routine every day.

 

 

Form – If you haven’t run much, your form probably sucks.  If you’re like most people you take a long stride assuming the more you stretch out your leg the fewer steps you’ll take and less worn out you’ll feel.  You’re wrong.  When you stretch out you actually slow yourself down and use your smaller muscles.  Your foot should fall just in front of you and you should land on the ball of your foot.  Pull your foot up quickly toward your butt.  This is a very short stride that utilizes your larger glutes and hamstrings.

 

 

 

Efficiency – The key to being able to run a 5k is an efficient stride that won’t wear you out. The goal is to maximize airtime.  When you’re in the air your body is doing less work.  Use a short stride and focus on moving your foot from the ground to your butt, don’t push your body along, pull it along.

Shock Treatment – To prepare my body to run a 5k I ran 20 minutes straight.  Then I rested for 4 days before racing.  The run shocked my body since it was such a unique thing.  I hadn’t run that long in a while so my body assumed that it had better get ready in case it has to do it again.  After 4 days of rest and recover, it was ready.

Playlist – You 5k playlist, when set up correctly, can power you though a race be setting the pace.  Music is measured in beats per minute.  Run time is measured in steps per minute.  Sync your pace with my current 5k playlist and you’ll find it easier to keep up a grueling pace.

Carbs – to run a 5k you must have fuel.  Start with slow burning carbs such as oatmeal a few hours before the race.  30 minutes before running digest a sugary carb such as Apple Sauce.  Your body will need plenty of glycogen to prevent you from hitting the wall to early.

The results of my first race are posted here.  My first 5k results.  You can see an image of me crossing the finish line here: My first 5k image (check out that shirt!)

Just to prove I my method worked, my wife and I headed back to our alma mater to run a 5k in the hills.  Most people who ran both events ran 1 minute slower in the hills. I posted the same time, without any running in between events.  Check out my pre-race picture on ScottyDog’s Blog Here: http://scottydogreports.com/  The image is here: Texas State Homecoming 5k.

Why haven’t you run a 5k yet?  How about this weekend?

Grow A Company – The Secret To 1000% Growth

How you grow a company isn’t something you can find in a textbook.  It is found in real life interaction and intent.  Allied Equipment recently changed our email server for the better.  Like most things you do to grow a company, this came along with some growing pains.  I had to completely reorganize my inbox and filing system.  As I opened an account I previously thought had been turned off, I found a new email.  Enter the email that inspired this post.

It was from a student who has followed this blog.  They asked me about Allied Equipment’s organizational strategy and change since I joined the company.  Below is my response:

Our organizational strategy in the last five and a half years has changed quite a bit.  We used to be lean and based on survival.  Each person owned a set of skills that allowed him or her to be more affluent in one area or another, so we gravitated to that person doing that particular task.  We basically looked like a bunch of Venn Diagrams.  One person may be doing accounting and advertising.  Another would be doing production and sells.  In the middle, we all overlapped and did a little of each

So, how did we grow a company by more than 1000% in five years?  We started with our people.  In the beginning, our growth created the need to divest.  I personally tried applying Pareto’s Principle and focus on only the 20% of the things that achieved 80% of the results we needed to grow a company.  Then I had 80% of my day left to fill with new assignments and responsibilities.  It has come back to bite me now, as I try to focus on what I’m best at but find myself overloaded with diverse tasks.  Delegation has become my biggest focus.

In terms of the organization as a whole, we’ve been forced to become more specialized.  Structure has become a big part of our organization, not because we want to model ourselves after a cumbersome large company, but because we must get the most out of our people.  If two people are focused on the same task it is redundant and frustrating.  You wouldn’t believe how many arguments have come to my office over people’s assignments. I find that the frustration doesn’t lie in the assignments; however, it lies in the person’s perceived worth to the company.  This is because each person needs to feel that they are essential to the organization and that they have an opportunity to contribute.  If we as leaders expect everyone to buy in, we must provide them opportunity to contribute to the company’s overall performance.  When one person loses a responsibility they tend to feel like a failure.  As a leader, filling that void with something more fulfilling and challenging is my job.  I must force my people to rise with me.  They must leave behind old responsibilities and stretch for new ones.

This being the case, I personally find myself fighting the Law of the Lid.  Your people will never be able to rise higher than their leader.  As such, if I personally am a six, my people can never become more than a five.  We’d be an average company.  It is my job as a leader to first, grow myself then return and equip my people with the tools and opportunities to grow themselves.  I must become a catalyst to growth.  It is only when I raise the lid that my people can raise the lid.  As they grow and move up, so too will Allied Equipment.  If I can become an eight and my people a seven, we will be exceedingly above average.

So how has this affected our Organizational Strategy and how have we changed?

We first understand that doing the same things we’ve always done will only get us to where we’ve always been.  In order to grow a company, we must first grow and change our people.  For the first time in our existence, I have created an education account.  We actually have a budget devoted to sending our people to seminars and conferences.  The biggest change has been from a task- oriented company to a people-oriented company.  It is only after investing in our people that our company has grown.

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Why I Write

As I write this post, I’m 24,000 feet in the air on our corporate plane.  It is one of my favorite places to reflect and to write.  My post about The Most Productive Place in the World will help you understand why I love writing up here in the clouds so much.  I have decided to do some writing, which got me thinking, “why do I write” and “why do I operate this blog that you’re reading now”.

As I sit here in the peaceful skies with the hum of the engines lulling my mind into a creative space, I find myself entranced in this blog.  Where will I take it?  Where has it been?  Why do I enjoy this so much?  Allow me for a moment to let you into my world.

It’s currently 6:00 am and I am on my way to a golf tournament with members of my sales staff.  Some are asleep, some are working, and others are reading the newspaper.  The scene is quiet.  It is too early to be very active.  The engines create a white noise that seems to force my mind inward into a reflective state.  In this state a question arises.  This question pulls at my heartstrings and questions my motives.  Why do I write?

I write to influence others.  I have always been acutely aware of the incredible mass of people who inhabit this earth and it has made me feel indebted to my fellow man to contribute to them.  After all, what makes a life?  It is the impact you make on others and the impact you allow them to make on you that writes the twist and turns that make the journey we call life.

I, by nature, am a consumer.  I consume massive amounts of information from the web.   The web has taught me everything from how to make an incredible meal  to how much an elephant weighs.  I probably ask Google a questions a hundred times a day.

Eventually a consumer consumes so much they feel a debt.  Now that I’ve learned so much, what can I do with this information?  I choose to give it back.  Does Steve Palvina’s Ubermand Schedule work for the average executive leader?   No.  I write to tell you why it doesn’t work and to tell you what I have found does work.  But I Google more than just sleeping techniques, I Google Leadership.  This is why I choose to share with you on a daily basis a vast wealth of information on the subject. I write about influential leadership because:

  1. Leadership is influence – The level of influence you have on others dictates how far they are willing to follow you.
  2. Influential Leadership is relational – to lead others you must interact with others.  You will connect with them and create lasting and meaningful relationships.
  3. Relationships are impactful – Once you have met another soul you begin to impact that person and their life.  It may be a simple smile and that’s it.  It may be a lifelong, unbreakable bond such as a marriage.  All relationships are impactful.

Impact is either productive or detrimental.  Since you are impacting others, it is important that you impact them in a way that helps them grow and develop. Thus, you entrust them with benefits they can then share with others. This is The Butterfly Effect.

Influence and leadership touch every aspect of every single day of your life.  You may not recognize it but you are influencing others while simultaneously being influenced yourself.  The knowledge of this makes you more aware and able to take in good and positive influences.  This knowledge also solidifies in you the importance of adding good, positive influence in your relationships and daily interactions with the world.

 

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Why My Standing Workstation Is Killing Me

Several months ago, I began researching the effects of sitting and how bad it is for today’s leaders.  The modern day workstation includes a traditional desk with a computer monitor on it and a keyboard.  We sit at these workstations sometimes for eight hours straight.  The health concerns caused by this situation are staggering.

Around that same time, I read a post by Michael Hyatt titled “Why Sitting Is Killing You.”  Then in March, Tim Ferriss posted this article about Reinventing the Office and discussed how bad sitting was for you.  That was all it took to get me off my bum and on my feet.  After all, Winston Churchill and Donald Rumsfeld had been using standing workstations decades before me.  If it worked well for them, I’m sure it would work well for me.

Fast forward to present day, I’m on my fifth session of therapy on my back and hip.  Moreover, I’m currently sitting down at my workstation.  I have to admit, I hate having a monitor on my workstation that faces my guests.  I also hate having a monitor on my desk that clutters the work surface.

I’ve since switched to a hybrid approach.  I spend much of my day between my standing and my sitting workstations.  Below is my current “stance” on the stand up desk phenomenon.  While there are certainly many benefits, there are just as many drawbacks.  It is essential to make your work situation work for you.

On and Off – It’s best to work on and off your feet.  Being forced to stand in one place for several hours will deter you from performing the task at hand.  I found myself putting off tasks that required me to stand for long periods of time.  The fatigue is enough to hinder your work’s quality

Performing the right tasks – Writing a blog post or creating a presentation are not the best tasks to do when utilizing a standing workstation.  I currently utilize my stand up workstation for only tasks that I can do with paper and pen.  My computer is now on my normal desk.  I try to work 30 minutes standing then 30 minutes sitting.

Organization – When using two workstations, it is critical that a leader be well organized.  When I first applied a standing workstation, I found myself constantly going back and forth between file cabinets in my desk and back to my workstation.  Keeping things organized in such a way that you can easily access your resources despite which workstation you’re at is a must.

Space – I see many people making stand up desks out of file cabinets or stools.  While this is okay, you should take into consideration the space you’ll need to perform tasks.  For instance, when compiling a financial presentation, I found myself with not enough room on my stand up desk for my financial reports.  As such, I was forced to walk over to my desk, find the information I needed, then walk back to my stand up desk.  I nearly wore a path between the two.

The standup desk phenomenon has taken over the globe and for very good reasons.  Most people, myself included, find a surge of energy throughout the day, increased productivity, less chronic back pain.  However, if not done properly, the results can be just as bad, if not worse, than using a normal sitting style desk.  Following the suggestions listed above will help you to maximize the benefits without feeling the downfalls.

 

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Jamie Eason’s Facebook – Why Conviction Matters

Many people believe that we are either born all good or all bad.  As a Christian I believe that we are all born in the image of Christ and therefore, are endowed by our creator to be good.  It is only after given the power of choice that we begin to corrupt and defile ourselves.  The good news is we can change our bad behavior and make good choices that lead to happiness.

Luckily, when we were born we were also endowed with the ability to know the difference between good and bad.  It is only after repeated suppression of this force that we can train ourselves to ignore it and continue in an oblivious pursuit of evil.  Such is the case with famed fitness model Jamie Eason.

On Saturday, Jamie Eason released a shocking confession of her conviction on her Facebook Page.  She also tells about the torment it has caused her in the past and still today.  To view the video please visit Jamie’s page at the link below to Jamie Eason’s Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJamieEason

I first noticed Jamie when I was beginning to find an interest in fitness.  She graced the covers of every major fitness magazine on the market.  In fact, you’ve probably passed by Jamie Eason’s photos in the grocery store line at least a dozen times.  Perhaps you’ve even visited Jamie Eason’s Facebook in the past.  She has worked hard to achieve her level of fitness, even beating breast cancer, and rose to the top of the fitness world.  However, the measures it took to achieve the level of notice that got her to the top has caused her much pain and anguish.

Jamie’s video is a telling tale of a good heart who falls pray to the evil desires of the world.  She is now in a good place in her life.  She is helping people to achieve their fitness goals every day.  Her contribution to society is two-fold, both good and evil.  The difference in the balance for us is often how we react to conviction.  Why does conviction matter?

  1. Reflex – Conviction is like a reflex.  When you place your hand on a hot stove, you react by pulling it away.  The same is true when you do something bad, you know it right away.
  2. Morals – Conviction is firmly grounded in your morals.  That, in which you most strongly believe, is where your conviction will be its strongest.
  3. Direction – Conviction will lead you in the right direction infallibly.  When conviction begins to rear its head, run the opposite direction!  Whatever is causing your conviction is a sure sign of evil and you should flee from that behavior as fast as you can.
  4. A Muscle – The less you use your muscles, the less you need them.  Pretty soon your body will only carry as much muscle as you need to survive, which is very little.  The same is true about conviction.  If you suppress it and ignore it every time it comes up, pretty soon you won’t have any left.

The video on Jamie Eason’s Facebook makes me stop and think.  What have I done in the past where I ignored my conviction?  Could my actions come back to haunt me?  Jamie Eason is a world class model and an inspiration to millions.  She is also a great person and I feel for her and her struggle.  I am also thankful that she would share such a story with her fans and followers so that we may learn from them.

This instance also makes me wonder, is the promoter who turned down her husband feeling any conviction?  Aren’t they a Christian?  Jesus had no problem associating with prostitutes and Jamie Eason is far, very far, from that! So why is this promoter passing so much judgment about someone else?

Do you think the actions of the promoter are justified?