Food for Thought "If you have the right people, with good, basic values and good work ethic, you can have a tremendous journey."

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Food for Thought 2 "The follow-up in my Food for Thought series, with more focus on my experiences with Six Sigma and Kaizen."

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January 29, 2012

Learn to love those that are the most different

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 9:36 pm

We have a real need to be with people like us and we tend to not associate with people who are greatly different.
Thus, we only hear like ideas, and the changes suggested by those with the greatest differences are often ignored.
And, if we suggest something greatly different to the group,  we may even be ostracized.
So,   it takes great courage to suggest something really new.

Group culture is very closed and monolithic,  and can be very bad if we want to grow and or improve.  The best ideas almost always come from outside the group.  It is very very difficult to cast the lone no vote in a group of 7,  especially if you are the last one to vote.

That determines leadership versus followship.   A leader recognizes those huge different idea opportunities.   Sure,  sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow.   But when a great idea comes walking by,  we must recognize and accept it or at a minimum ask, “What is good about it”.

Our groups must continue to evolve, and seek different people and different ideas.   Welcome new members.   The more different the better.    Then,  forgive those who want change.

In Sales,  at first,  act like the buyer so they think you are one of them.
Once you discover their need, you can ask what the solution would be worth before you suggest the wild and crazy idea.

Go forth and be different!   Crazy ideas, Like plant alfalfa in the medium of all our expressways and let farmers mow and harvest.    Stop food stamps and give free bulk dried beans and rice to anyone.   Give everyone on welfare a job,  a broom and a shovel , like Mexico:  Sweep the streets and sidewalks.    Put nuclear power plants at the bottom of the ocean.    Make tiny tiny wireless cameras and put them in every street light.
Give me time ,  I will think of even crazier ideas.

January 22, 2012

What we have is not ours!

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 8:30 pm

An interesting thought!

I like to think that everything we have today is a result of “my” hard work, ingenuity and thrift.  Karen and I have been huge believers in saving and investing a large part of our income from the time we were 23.  We also believed in tithing 10%.    It was tough at first, but it worked.   Many times we were very cash poor.   Now, I think that our accumulated wealth is all the result of our own deeds.   We went without many material things in those early days.    We did not start tithing 10% and maximizing our 401k.  But every year when we got a raise,  half the raise went into increasing our tithe and our 401k.

But, one might consider that everything we have, someone gave us a start.   When we are born,  someone gave us food, shelter and security.    As we got older, someone gave us values, ethics and an education.    Maybe not formally, but informally we learned from those around us.   Evan if you paid your own way through college.   I like to say that I did by working part time and loans.    I did have a scholarship, a gift from State of Michigan.   I did have federal loans,  a gift from USA.     I did get small gifts from parents and grandparents.   I had a loan from my sister and her husband.   I had part time jobs at MSU, gifts.

Even all the jobs we have had during my career,  might be considered gifts.    There we always other people very willing.  And I am sure I was high maintenance.  We need to be thankful for all those that helped us.

Finally, however,  many gifts are given, and many are squandered.  It is like the parable where the rich man gave one person 10 pcs of gold, another 3 pcs and the 3rd 1 pc.    Then came back in a year to see what they had done with the money he gave them.    The 1st two invested and multiplied, the 3rd hid it in the ground.   ( I probably don’t have this exactly correct, but close)

We choose!    We choose what we do with our gifts.   We can have instant gratification from the gift or we can invest it.  We choose what to do with the 1 gold coin or the 10.    We must give gifts to those who will invest it in their future, and who will in turn give gifts to others.     Teach them to fish.    Don’t just give them fish.   Well,  give them just a few fish while teaching them to fish.  But not so many fist that they are not hungry.

January 17, 2012

“… Make us masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others.” ~Sir Alexander Paterson~

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 6:32 pm

A very good friend ask me the other day to recommend a book they could read to help develop and build a team.   My first thought was the Bible, but I said Dale Carnegie “How to win friends…”.  Dale Carnegie’s book is an easy 1 day read.   The Bible takes a lot longer,  but a lot more content.

However,   the Bible has tons and tons of practical tips on dealing with people, but this quote is not from the Bible, it could have been.  The quote sums up what I believe business is all about.    Leadership is about making ourselves a better person, knowing ourselves and our product better,  then and only then can we help our team better.

The Quote by Sir Alexander Paterson,  actually,  is also about sales,   If we know ourselves better, we can serve our customers better.    It is much more than what they pay you,  it is how much you can solve their problems above and beyond the pay.     Call it the power of positive thought, the power of self confidence, that you can help the customer solve his or her problems.

How can I become better so I may serve my customer better?

When it is all done, and we are ask to summarize our careers,  what do we want said.   I want my customers to say I was their trusted friend and servant.  I want my tombstone to say 1946 (he gave more than he received) 2046.

January 16, 2012

Donuts for Grace

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 12:29 pm

I heard a story a long time ago.    It went like this.  ” Forgiveness is when a policeman stops you and gives you a warning.   Grace is when a policeman stops you and gives you a donut.”

When I first heard this ,  I thought it was a joke.   But after telling it a few times, I realized that this was not a joke but a real life example or a real parable.   Grace is something you receive that you do not necessarily deserve.   We don’t usually deserve forgiveness plus.   Grace is almost like a pardon plus,  removing from your record.

Do you deserve Grace? Do you believe?  What evidence can you provide to prove that you believe?   “In God we Trust”, is on our coins, but for you we need data and evidence.    We need evidence that you believe.  That only comes from good works.

If this is all true that you trust and believe in God,  what are you doing today to provide evidence.   Or ,  what should you stop doing that is evidence that you do not believe.

Grace is a different place.    Grace is forgiveness,  when we don’t deserve it.   Grace is patient, waiting for us to provide evidence.   We have eternity to receive the donut.   If by chance you are an atheist,  you had better hurry.   You do not have much time.

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