Becoming Legendary Don't drown in the Quo

January 24, 2018

Successful Change Agents Get Buy-In

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 7:24 pm

Successful Change Agents Get Buy-In

All of the pre-business meeting prayer groups decided to team up with one other group – made it six per group – just to get a feel for how things are going in others’ lives. And also, I think there was some fascination as to how each group was falling into prayer. Liz, Josh and I joined up with Carl, James and Jennifer and we all briefly shared how our businesses were going. Josh made some interesting comments about his Lubbock landscaping growth. We didn’t have time to get into much detail since we wanted to make sure we spent a lot of time in prayer with one another. The other group led us into prayer and it was just a basic set of prayers. It was nice to have other voices join ours but I still prefer the smaller version of us. I’m used to focusing on two other people rather than five. Still, I was a nice boy and did my part in prayer. I have to say that I love the fact that we pioneered this movement of prayer among businesspeople. It was nice to be a catalyst for something valuable.

As for the larger business gathering we had a brief announcement from Ches who shared about fire damage claims in Dallas and how his company can help with anyone who faces this sort of trouble there.  Our main speaker, Joyce, who was involved in running a short-term apartment location. I think it is interesting to have two such business people in the room doing the same sort of work. I don’t have any other heating and cooling owners in the larger group. Anyway, Joyce, who had come to the group late kind of shared what somebody else had touched on. She talked about being a change agent not only within the walls of her business but also in the larger regional market where our clients existed. She didn’t get into much about the community piece but she did focus in on how to gain consensus with the opinion leaders at our business. She said that some owners foolishly launched new initiatives without asking their leadership teams what they thought of it. She said that this could cause a lot of friction and even some pushback that we didn’t need. If we could get the leadership on board first then it would much easier to introduce new ideas that would funnel down smoothly. She said that as leaders we needed to “take the temperature” of our overall staff too. If we gave them chances to do some initial allowance for re-invervention of the seminal idea, we would have a good chance for change to take effect with little to no frustrations coming from employees. I am glad she talked to us about this subject because I know that I don’t ask for much help from my leaders or my group of workers. I pretty much just go with own ideas and place them into affect without getting feedback from my people. I need to do that from now on. I actually have some changes that I am about to introduce into how we work togtether and I will use this talk to spur me on to include others into my decisions.

So readers, how do you bring change into your business organizations? Are you open to the ideas of others who work for you? I am interested in how you allow for re-intervention. Thanks for commenting every week. Your tips and advice are very important to me.

 

January 22, 2018

Getting it all back!

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 6:21 pm

Getting it all back!

We all have possessions that we would never want damaged or lost. Most of us have houses that we have worked hard to maintain and even build up and inside of that house we place all sorts of things that we consider beautiful and/or practical. But some times bad things happen to our houses and our things. A fire for instance can happen and destroy some or all of what we have worked so hard to gain. Hopefully this example “fire” wouldn’t cause any human loss or injury, but loss of housing or possessions can make us feel like we have had the rug pulled out from us. One day we have a lovely home filled with lovely things and the next a fire hits and we are standing in the midst of destruction. What should we do at this point? What can we do to make this situation better? How can we regain some normalcy?

Most of us hopefully can make fire damage insurance claims to get the ball rolling on recovering our things. But this process can be a difficult one. Insurance companies can make it difficult to get a settlement that will allow you to get everything back in its right place. It can be frustrating to get fire damage claim help. Thankfully there are professionals known as Public Adjusters that you can hire to stand between you and the insurance company so that a higher settlement can be attained. If you find yourself facing an insurance claim, I would definitely recommend you checking out these professionals before you try to go at it alone. I’m writing this suggestion to you because up until a fire ravaged my in-laws house, I had no idea that there were people who could help them with their insurance claim. I had no idea what a Public Adjuster was – I quickly learned though and was blown away by their effectiveness.

I hope that my recommendation helps you if you ever have really any sort of damage done to your home or business that requires an insurance claim. I hope you never have to use a Public Adjuster and that your life goes without destruction of any sort. But if you do run into trouble with fires, water damage, mold, smoke damage, etc., keep Public Adjusters in mind. They will get you back on your feet.

January 18, 2018

The Nicest Yard on the Block

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 8:14 pm

The Nicest Yard on the Block

Everyone I know is fairly competitive about a lot of things – who has the coolest car (minivans never win, no matter what), who has the best job, who gets to wear the most casual clothes to work, who has been on the best vacation, who has the best Christmas lights, etc. It’s a funny little game that we humans play mostly with our neighbors. We especially tend to get competitive when it comes to who has the best landscaping. Everyone wants to have the nicest yard on the block with the best landscape design. Nobody wants big yellow patches in their lawn or uncreative landscaping. Makes sense to me – your front yard is the external representation of what you probably have inside of your house. Who wants to scream to everyone around “We don’t care about showcasing our home. We are derelict in our duties and even though we dirty gutters, a million leaves in the yard and dandelions popping up everywhere, we are happy.”

I live in Lubbock and so I know that Lubbock landscaping and Lubbock lawn care is a big deal. I also know that some of the richer folks spend upwards of $20,000 on their landscaping to make sure they have the best yard in their area. Now, I am not recommending this crazy amount of money be spent on plants, trees and yard work. But I do recommend that you find a lawn care crew that is not only affordable but that is also known for their killer professionalism and creative abilities to give you an advantage over your competitive neighbors. Some people try to do it all on their own – mowing, edging, designing, gardening, etc. And great for them if they want to risk looking bad. But I don’t think this is the right road to take – I would hire a great crew with amazing testimonials about their work and let them do all of that stuff for me.

One company in Lubbock that matches all of my needs for year-round lawn care is called Lubbock Roots Lawn and Landscape (http://lubbockroots.com). I know their boss and he is a stickler for doing the best work for a fair price. And his workers do everything just right. I might be spending less on my yard than my neighbors do, but no one would ever guess it. I recommend this company above all others. Feel free to comment and tell me who you think is the best in town. All I know is that I have the best yard on the block because of this group.

With that, I bid you adieu. Happy weed-pulling!

January 4, 2018

How to help your business grow from within

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 5:53 pm

How to help your business grow from within

Every business has its strengths and flaws and it is the job of the leadership to minimize the flaws and increase the strengths. One of the most crucial things a company to help it grow from within is to empower the employees and especially the managers by giving them the chance to learn from a specialist from outside of the company – someone who can come in to the business to consult or someone to speak into their work lives via corporate workshops or leadership coaching. We all want our managers to get a fresh voice and to be inspired by that voice so that they not only keep up their lifelong learning but so they can learn to lead better.

There are lots of leadership training conferences that bring in some of the greatest speakers and workshop leaders for the sake of leadership teams and members of management. I’ve been to several of these and I always leave with an excitement about improving my leadership and my work style. So, I recommend if you are the leader of a company that you look into an consultant, regional workshops and/or conferences with stellar speakers – people who have done business right for a long time and who have fresh perspectives to offer. And if you decide to go this route so that your leaders can learn to lead better, I want to recommend that you look for one speaker and leadership coach in particular who tends to increase those strengths I wrote about earlier. This man is named Dr. Andy Neillie and he has a knack for touching on vital issues while keeping it real. He uses everyday examples so that his talks resonate with everyone. You can read more about him at his website (http://neillieleadershipgroup.com) or you can contact his office directly at 512-963-8886.

If you can’t find him speaking anywhere close to you, you can still grow your business from within by going to other peoples’ workshops and conferences. Having those outside voices speaking into the lives of your employees is invaluable.

December 19, 2017

Business Allies but not Friends – Week Fifty-Seven

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 6:37 pm

Business Allies but not Friends – Week Fifty-Seven

Today at prayer, Liz and Josh suggested that we try out another guided imagery exercise. Both of them said that they had gotten so much out of this exercise the last two times that they really wanted to go for it again. Josh suggested that we choose the first few chapters of Job to land in for the day. So, we chose when Job lost his family and his possessions. This was a cool because I had never used this story and I was interested in how it would play out. We took turns reading the verses and then we were quiet for a while trying to give our imaginations over to the Holy Spirit so that He could guide us. We didn’t get to share that much about that because our time was short and because we had already shared about our businesses – Josh and his Lubbock landscaping and lawn care maintenance and Liz with her Lubbock catering. But I can say that I saw the absolute horror in Job’s face as I tried to comfort him in his loss. I hardly knew what to tell him since he had lost so much at once. He tried to keep a brave face but I could see how deeply sad he was. I just put my arms around him and said over and over how sorry I was for him. He responded by crying and thanking me for caring. I wondered how this whole thing would come to play in my life for the day, but I was struck with how much compassion I needed to carry into my dealings with others. After all, who really knows the extent of suffering that other strangers and friends are living with.

At the larger gathering of business owners and leaders, we had a financial planner named Jerry who spoke on the topic of being allies and leaders for our staffs. He said that too many business owners tried to be friends with their employees and this made it harder for us to give orders and even to lay down tough decisions that our staffs might not like. He said that in his business he had worked too hard to be buddies with his staff and that when it came time to cut back on his employees he found it hard to fire the people that he needed to fire. In fact, he said that he sacrificed bottom line profits for a long time by not firing his “friends” and how this almost cost him his business. For me this topic was a good one because I had made friendships a big thing at my work. I was too friendly with too many of my workers and I saw how this could influence my decision making with regards to my business. I decided that I needed to somehow back off on this style of leadership. I wasn’t sure how I was going to back off, but I knew that in future hirings I would keep a distance from staff. Not that I would be a jerk, but I would try what this guy was saying with regards to being an ally over being a close friend of workers.

So readers, what do you think about this advice? Have you ever made friends at work that clouded your decision-making? Please let me know what you did to remedy this situation? I’m interested in how you fixed these relationships without being cold to everyone around you. Thanks in advance…

December 14, 2017

Business Sharing

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 6:00 pm

Business Sharing – Week Fifty-Six

Prayer went well today. We didn’t do anything much different today. We all went around and talked about the businesses represented – Josh’s Lubbock lawn care and Liz’s Lubbock catering, my Heating and cooling and Ches’ fire damage claims business. All of that seemed to be in good working order. We did ask about Josh’s dad and he said that little had changed. He wasn’t going to go up there to see him unless things took a more serious turn. We did spend some time being silent before God and I think we each got some peace added from that.

As for the larger business gathering, they decided to have people from the group stand up and tell about the ins and outs of their businesses. Each person, three this week, told about how things had changed since the owners had started coming to this meeting. All of the reports were positive. One of them, which came from the owner of a florist shop, reported that she had tried several of the tips given by the speakers and had seen enormous growth in both profits and worker satisfaction. She said that the entire culture of her workplace had shifted from one of kinda lazy to one that was thriving and exciting. She attributed it to her implementation of providing a living wage and taking her staff on an evaluation retreat. This woman named Jan was appreciative for her time at the group and she gave credit to everyone for being willing to stand by her as made good changes. Another guy who was a travel agent said similar things but said that changes at his company were occurring almost daily. He could see that his staff was taking more charge of the work given to them and he was happy for that. He wasn’t having to “pull teeth” to get things done – things were just moving along smoothly.

 

These reports were good for me. I know that I too have seen great strides made in my company and that I was becoming of a healthy change agent who cared about creating a solid work environment. My employees had certainly become more invested in my company as it became our company.

 

So readers, what kind of report can you give as to the condition of your business over the past year? How have you made healthy changes to you business and what have the results been? I’m interested in hearing if you have seen shifts simply by reading about my summaries of these larger gatherings. Feel free to send me updates so I can see if my blog is helping anyone. Thanks in advance…

December 8, 2017

A Visionary Plan for Business Success – Week Fifty-Four

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 5:19 pm

A Visionary Plan for Business Success – Week Fifty-Four
This week at the business meeting it was my turn to speak to the larger gathering. I was nervous. I was glad that the Pre-K administrator joined our prayer group today. She prays with power and power was what I needed to prepare me for speaking in front of these very smart business owners. Liz and Josh joined in asking for peace and wisdom and I appreciated the support. I’m not much of a public speaker, but I thought that I should at least share some things that had not been mentioned up to this point. We also prayed for Liz’s catering business, Josh’s Lubbock lawn care stuff and Ches (the fire claims adjuster) and everything felt good. God was really with us today – or at least I felt more of His presence. Some times my spiritual antenna is not properly aimed.

As for my leading the larger business meeting I needed to have water close by my side as it felt like my tongue and taste buds were dried out. Do you ever have that sense of dry mouth where you cannot even get words to come out? I hate that feeling but I had it today. I felt like a young kid about to give a show and tell presentation or talk about a book report I had done. Anyway, once I got past my initial fears, I was able to share about my topic, which actually comes from the Bible. I used the story of Nehemiah as the background for my talk since this story seems to hold all of the steps of how to lead a group to make something happen. I made sure to hand out papers for people so they didn’t have to pull out their phones and buy a Bible app. It gave key verses and of course some fill-in-the-blanks for those who need those. I talked about how the first step on getting people to start working alongside you for the common good of any company is to enter into the task humbly. Often times, we think we have to build up some huge confidence that can turn into pride when taking on a new project. I talked about how this was a mistake and how it could make people feel more pressure than is necessary. The second thing I shared is that we need to actually go and see what the project needs. We cannot rely on others to tell us what a situation requires. We need to go and evaluate the costs and plan out the stages for development. After all, it is our business and we should know what we are getting into. The third thing I talked about was how we needed to clearly communicate a vision and a plan to the other leaders around us – get them to buy into the process before it begins – make sure that the key leaders are on board. The fourth thing I talked about was how we needed to staff properly for each specific project – have all the right people at all of the right places to make sure that when problems come up that there would not be a total surrender – a sense of failure that would suck the confidence out of the group. That’s all I had time to share this week. I knew I was going a little long and that the other business leaders were getting fidgety so I concluded there and said I would be willing to share again the following week if they wanted to hear what I had to say. Everyone was nice to me about what I had to say. The lady who ran the short-term furnished housing units made a special effort to tell me how good it was to hear me using the Bible as an application for business leaders. I thanked her and everyone else for their questions and for their support.

So readers, have you ever read the story of how Nehemiah went from cupbearer to the king to being the Governor a long-suffering Jewish people? I think it tells us all we need to know about how to organize a major project and see it through to fulfillment, but I want to know what you think…Feel free to comment. Thanks in advance.

November 29, 2017

Targeted TV Ads – Week Forty-Eight

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 7:29 pm

Targeted TV Ads – Week Forty-Eight

Liz wasn’t able to make it to prayer or to the large gathering today because of pressing needs at her Lubbock catering group today. They had a non-profit that was holding a golf tournament and she was the one who needed to oversee all of the plans that was going on in the early morning. She usually had her assistant to cover such things but her assistant was out due to sickness. Josh and I talked a bit and spent most of our time praying for our businesses and family situation. Josh told me that he was learning to hear from God more, using the Bible as his foundation. I thought that this was a mature move on his part. We both have had good weeks coming into this meeting and we looked forward to what was coming in the larger gathering.

As for the larger gathering we had a TV executive and leadership coach come and speak to us about how to use targeted TV to speak into the lives of viewers and potential customers. He told us how using commercials that were properly placed to reach viewers was a key to using visuals and music to get people to hear our messages. This guy was not just pitching his own business to get us to buy from him, but was speaking generally about how powerful television can be to grab people’s attention and to hold their attention after the commercial was over. He suggested using well-vetted marketing firms to create a brand and a consistent message and then to do best practices to get media buys that would fit our specific markets. He showed a few commercials and told us the goods and the bads of each one. The one that stuck with me was one done by the short-term furnished housing firm represented by the folks that came to this movie. Anyway, It was a slick presentation and one that stuck with me. I have not used television ads lately since I thought people would simply fast forward past them. But after hearing this guy speak, I am wondering about trying them again. I figured if I was able to create an ad that was to the point and even funny so that people would not fast forward as much and would accept the message as put forth in the ad. Who knows? I didn’t think that ads could be put together so simply but after hearing how affordable it could all be, I might spend some of my profits to add TV to my marketing mix.

So readers, what do you think about using TV commercials in this day and age? How would you craft your message to gather in new clients? What message would you try to put out in television land so that your ad would stick in the minds of viewers? I hope you can further convince me of the value of this medium.

Business Networking – Week Forty-Seven

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 7:26 pm

Business Networking – Week Forty-Seven

I had to make fire insurance claims at my office this week due to someone accidentally blowing out one of our machines. I’m not sure exactly how this led to a fire or caused the damage that it did, but it happened and I was not happy about it. The guy who handled my insurance claim is the Texas public adjuster guy who spoke at the larger gathering a few weeks back and handled it perfectly. There’s still a lot that needs to be fixed, but I didn’t let that get to me and I didn’t get angry at my employees who let this happen on their watch. Still I let this be my prayer request for the week – that it all would work out for the good and that I could stay patient. Liz and Josh had fairly normal weeks and so we just all lifted up some generalities and asked God to deal with those things that were unseen for the moment – for Him to go before us and to make us thankful as days passed by us. It was just a time of refreshment and we all needed it on this tired morning.

As for the larger group, we didn’t have a set speaker but we had individual announcements made at the beginning. I mostly ignored those because I knew I didn’t have any extra time to give anything else. After the announcements, we were encouraged to go around and meet three people we hadn’t met yet – to not only exchange banal pleasantries but to see if there were ways that our businesses could help one another. This was a nice break from the typical lecture that we usually have – not that I don’t learn a lot from each one, but it’s nice to shake it up a but from time to time. Also, since there have been so many new people coming in the past few weeks I knew that there were quite a few people who I had never met. I’m not the most outgoing guy – definitely not an extrovert – but I made the effort nonetheless. The first person I met was a female executive named Jennifer who was on the top level of a marketing firm in town. I was intrigued by what she did and asked her if she had any people on staff who could help me better brand my company and who could get me on track with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for my website. She said that they could service any of those things and more if I needed it. I asked her about pricing and she gave me a ballpark approximation of cost. It didn’t seem like that much money for what her company was offering. We exchanged cards (because she said that she would certainly be needing help with office and home heating, cooling and plumbing. The second and last person I met (due to time constraints) was a guy who did full-time writing. This guy named Ben posted on Facebook and Twitter for many companies in Lubbock, but he was not only a social media savant. Ben also wrote books – both fiction and non-fiction. He said that if he ever had a bestseller he wouldn’t be doing the social media stuff anymore. He would be able to retire that side of his creative writing and focus on pumping out entertaining novels, etc. I told him what I did and he took one of my cards and said that he would definitely be in touch when the need arose.

It was nice to meet these two and actually get to see how diverse the leaders in this group are. I’m sure if I met everyone in the group I would find an entire constellation of industries. It was a good week for group. I look forward to the next one.

November 15, 2017

Borrowing to Avoid the Plateau

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 7:13 pm

Borrowing to Avoid the Plateau – Week Forty-Four

Thirteen groups of three gathered this morning for business prayer time – how cool it is to see a consistent movement amongst colleagues. I wonder how many of them have instituted some sort of prayer time at their workplaces. It would be cool to have evaluated what God is doing in all of these places and people since they began getting serious about brining God into their businesses. As for my group, Liz said that catering in Lubbock has gotten a few new competitors in the past month. She said they are challenging her to dig her heels in and market her business better. Josh didn’t have much to say about his Lubbock landscaping business but gave a new report about the fire damage claim he had settled. It was nearing a successful closure. I didn’t have anything specific except to ask for peace. I have been feeling more anxious lately and I cannot put my finger on why. As all of you know, anxiety makes it very hard to function as well as we would like to. I’m usually a confident person. I think my faith is weak in some areas.

As for the larger business gathering we had a guy talk to us who runs a swimming pool installation business. He talked to us about how and when to seek a loan to ramp up and expand our businesses. He told us that sometimes we know we need to grow in equipment and with staff but that we don’t have the money on hand to go ahead and blossom. He mentioned how to use equity and collateral to get the best loans. He also suggested several places that he had found that offered perks for small and large businesses looking to expand. One thing he said that stood out to me was that there are plenty of institutions that want to loan money. He went on to say that this reality leads to our being able to have these lending companies compete for our business. He said that we should talk to at least five of them before choosing one. He told us not to be scared to go for it in this area because if we hesitate at times of growth, we will plateau and typically go into a free fall mode. A guy who works with fire insurance claims (he runs a business out of Lubbock and Dallas)  asked some poignant questions that cleared up some questions I had. They were very specific questions and I always appreciate those.

I did take out one small loan in the past to get some new and bigger tools as well as to get some trucks to haul our teams around town to do our work. It ended up being a good situation and it helped me to grow. But it has been quite some time and I will give some careful thought to what this speaker said. Maybe I do need to expand in the near future. Why rest on my laurels when I could be expanding.

So readers, what do you think about acquiring money from lending institutions to get your business moving? Have you ever done this sort of thing and if so, what were the pros and the cons? Let me know in your comments.

Until next time…

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