“The Crisp Meeting” by Seth Godin

The Crisp Meeting is a great post by Seth Godin that gives you a framework for creating meetings that enhance your work instead of them becoming a drain on your productivity. Following is an excerpt from the post:

The crisp meeting is one of a series. It’s driven by purpose and intent. It’s guided by questions:

Who should be in the room?

What’s the advance preparation we ought to engage in? (at least an hour for every meeting that’s worth holding).

What’s the budget?

What’s the deadline?

The post has several more excellent questions to be asked in preparation for a meeting and some pithy thoughts as you might expect from Mr. Godin. It is worth a read in my opinion.



“Why Strategy Execution Unravels—and What to Do About It”


are plans useless?

Quotes and Various Formats.001

Good advice from GEN Eisenhower – his quote captures the reality that as soon as plans make “first contact” with reality, they immediately change and may quickly become irrelevant. However, a good planning process prepares you to deal more effectively with the unexpected obstacles or opportunities while still maintaining focus on your mission or objective. So, don’t be “married” to your plan, but do develop a robust and disciplined planning process that allows you to respond, and possibly even anticipate, the unexpected.


a career worth having

Good morning! It is another beautiful morning, but the days are starting to shorten and they are a tad cooler here in NE Indiana. While I look forward to the fall, I am not so sure about what follows! I will be in Texas this weekend, so I will get a good dose of heat to reset me!

I was reading an article by Nathaniel Koloc on the Harvard Business Review site entitled “Build a Career Worth Having”. An intriguing title and definitely a goal of mine!

Mr. Koloc and his staff have talked to over 12,000 professionals and hundreds of hiring managers and he has come up with three basic insights as to how to build a career in today’s environment and it’s not the traditional approach.

“1. See your career as a series of stepping stones, not a linear trajectory.

  Let go of the idea that careers are linear. These days, they are much more like a field of stepping stones that extends in all directions. Each stone is a job or project that is available to you, and you can move in any direction that you like. The trick is simply to move to stones that take you closer and closer to what is meaningful to you. There is no single path — but rather, an infinite number of options that will lead to the sweet spot of fulfillment.

2. Seek legacy, mastery, and freedom — in that order

  • Legacy. A higher purpose, a mission, a cause. This means knowing that in some way — large or small — the world will be a better place after you’ve done your work.
  • Mastery. This refers to the art of getting better and better at skills and talents that you enjoy using, to the extent that they become intertwined with your identity. 
  • Freedom. The ability to choose who you work with, what projects you work on, where and when you work each day, and getting paid enough to responsibly support the lifestyle that you want

3. Treat your career like a grand experiment.

In my experience, people who are successful in finding — and maintaining — meaningful work approach their careers like a grand experiment.

I use the word ‘grand’ to describe this experiment because the reality is that your career is not just a way to earn a living. It’s your chance to discover what you’re here for and what you love. It’s your best shot at improving the world in a way that is important to you. It’s a sizeable component of your human experience, in a very real way. As such, it should be an adventure, with a healthy bit of magic and mystery along the way.”

Sounds like some good advice, especially the point that you are not, or at least should not, be working just to earn a living. Are you involved in making an impact on his broken world? Are you thinking Legacy? Do you see your life as your ministry?

I recommend you read the full article – I think you just might enjoy it.

Blessings on your day!


a powerful planning tool

business model canvasGood morning!

A while back, I came across a book on a powerful planning tool – Business Model Generation. I have used it and now teach it in my management classes. Watch the video below and see what you think. After you do, go to the site, review it, and download a copy of the model – you will be glad you did.

Business Model You

Good Friday morning to you! I hope you have a great end to your week.

In the past I have posted about the Business Model Canvas which is a one-page tool for developing your business model. That tool has also been adapted into the Business Model You which is a great tool for drawing your own personal business model and helping people adapt to the changing market place. The book is excellent and is also a great help for a young person trying to figure out their career path.

Watch this video:

Business Model You from Square Tomato on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend!

Are you Squandering Your Most Productive Time of Day?

Good morning from a snowy southwest Michigan!  Our family had a fun time this weekend at the Ice Festival in our little town.  Did not have many of those down South!!

An Ice Elephant

Question for you – how are you spending the first part of the day at work?  What is your focus?  For most of us, the first part of the day is typically the most important as we are freshest, we are more creative, we have more energy, more focus and so on.  So do you use that time to plan, to begin work on an important project that requires sustained thought, to create?  Or do you spend your morning checking out the news, responding to e-mail, checking your social media for posts and so on.  Essentially, you are squandering your most valuable and creative time simply responding to others and allowing the “news” to set your attitude for the day.

Try something different – protect the first part of your day.  Block off the time and don’t allow meetings during that time.  Don’t automatically go first to your email, don’t surf the news site on the web (it’s depressing anyway), don’t go to Facebook or Twitter.  Instead, create something outstanding – use your best time for your most important work!

Blessings on your week!

Twelve Questions That Could Improve Your Team’s Decision Making

Biases can and do distort our reasoning – especially when making important decisions.  Things such as confirmation bias, anchoring, loss aversion, and etc.  These cognitive biases and others have the potential for distorting our judgment.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, “Before You Make That Big Decision . . .” the authors suggest a “decision quality control checklist” of 12 questions to use to help discover defects or biases in the decision-making process.

“Is there any reason to suspect motivated errors or errors driven by the self-interest of the recommending team?

Have the people making the recommendation fallen in love with it?

Were there dissenting opinions within the recommending team? (NOTE – regardless of its cause, an absence of dissent in a team addressing a complex problem should sound an alarm)

Could the diagnosis of the situation be overly influenced by salient analogies? (In other words, is it too heavily tied to a past success story?)

Have credible alternatives been considered?

If you had to make this decision again in a year, what information would you want, and can you get more of it now?

Do you know where the numbers came from? (Are the numbers fact or just estimates? Who put the first number on the table?)

Can you see a halo effect?

Are the people making the recommendation overly attached to past decisions?

Is the base case overly optimistic?

Is the worst case bad enough? (Check out the post on the “premortem” – click here)

Is the recommending team overly cautious?”

These questions can be a powerful tool in rooting out defects in thinking of a decision making team.

Blessings on your week!

Thinking vs. Just Operating

Are you so busy operating or doing the daily tasks of work or ministry that you are not taking the time to think conceptually about your mission and your roles & responsibilities?

If so, why not?  What needs to change?

Peace & grace to you today,



The Plan is Useless, But Planning is Everything

A paradox – seemingly.

General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the man who orchestrated the most massive invasion in the world’s history, has this to say about planning:

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless,


planning is indispensable.”

Now why would he say that?

That statement is key for those of us that plan.  The reality is that we are pretty terrible about predicting the future, so in practice most plans are obsolete about the time they are finished. However, a strong, ongoing planning process brings such clarity as to our mission, goals, awareness of our strengths & weaknesses and the environment, that it allows us to quickly adjust to the unknown while staying on course to achieve our mission and strategic objectives.

A Spirit-led and prayer saturated planning process is key to organizations that are seeking to glorify God.  This kind of process keeps us in tune with the Lord and ready to quickly adjust at His leading.

We need to remember that we are finite creatures and that God is sovereign. History progresses according to His plan – not ours.

Happy planning!