don’t put your employees in the hospital!

Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

“Simply put, employers can make decisions to improve people’s lives in fundamentally important ways. Or, alternatively, employers can, either intentionally or through ignorance and neglect, create workplaces that literally sicken and kill people.”

(Pfeffer, 2018)

This quote is one of the many that stopped me dead in my tracks. To realize that the quality of our leadership can literally put people in the hospital or improve the quality of their lives is very sobering. The subtitle of the book is arresting as well – How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance – and What We Can Do About It. Sure, we managers are all about organizational performance (which is important by the way!), but too often the way we are leading is not only detrimental to organizational performance, more importantly, it is detrimental to the very health of the people we are leading.

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and is the author or co-author of 15 books – so he is well qualified to address this subject. Following is a sampling of some “brutal facts” from his book that illustrate our need to become better leaders.

  • “The American Institute of Stress maintains that job stress costs US employers more than $3oo billion annually. The ill-health from workplace stress adversely affects productivity and drives up voluntary turnover.”
  • “In total, workplace environments in the US may be responsible for 120,000 excess deaths per year-which would make workplaces the 5th leading cause of death, and account for about $180 billion in additional health-care expenditures, approximately 8% of the total; health-care spending.”
  • “According to the Mayo Clinic, the person you report to at work is more important for your health than your family doctor. – Bob Chapman”
  • “Simply put, employers can make decisions to improve people’s lives in fundamentally important ways. Or, alternatively, employers can, either intentionally or through ignorance and neglect, create workplaces that literally sicken and kill people.

These statistics should be a clarion call to action for us as leaders.

Continue reading BG’s post on Coachwell’s site by clicking here

multi-tasking is actually bad for your health

developing more energy and becoming more productive

the1thingDo you feel tired most of the time? Is getting out of bed most mornings (especially Monday!) a laborious task?

More and more, people are writing about energy management and priority management and less about time management. The reason being is that the way most of us are working may be productive of efficient in the short term, it is usually detrimental to our long-term health and productivity.

I have been reading The One Thing and Gary Keller talks about a simple rhythm for the day that helped him become healthier and more productive. What he is saying has been said by others in different ways, but the core elements are much the same. Following is a slightly edited version of what he calls “The Highly Productive Person’s Daily Energy Plan”:

  1. Start your day with prayer
  2. Eat right and ensure you start your day with a healthy breakfast
  3. Get 7 -8 hours a sleep every night
  4. Exercise 5 – 6 days a week (just 20 – 30 minutes a day will be life changing!)
  5. Hug, kiss, and laugh with your loved ones
  6. Set your goals, plan, and calendar for the day
  7. Make sure you time block for your most important priority – what he calls the ONE Thing.

Most of this is not new, but I like the way in which he handles the subject. The challenge is that while we know what we should be doing, we aren’t. So, develop the desire, discipline yourself to incorporate healthy habits into your daily life (one thing at a time, you can’t do it all at once!!), and after you start seeing some small wins you will start feeling the motivation to continue. Remember, in this case, motivation follows action!


Four Weekly Rhythms for a More Effective Life

Good morning – it was a beautiful weekend here in northeast Indiana.purple flower - Keely 2013

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to slip into unhealthy habits or rhythms in your life and how hard it is to develop good ones? Well, in today’s post I am “preaching” to myself. We had some very healthy rhythms going, but then we moved which disrupted things for a while and it is a challenge to get back where we were, but we are making progress.

Over time, I have found four major themes of rhythms important to my overall health. (In my next post I will talk about the rhythms you need in your work for an effective and productive week). The four rhythms that work for me are:

– Spiritual: Over time I have found that it is important for me that I read some Scripture each day and meditate on what I have read during the day. Additionally, it is important for me pray daily and to stay in a prayerful mindset throughout the day. It is amazing how that changes your perspective.

 – Relational: It is important that you nurture the key relationships in your life. One way we do that is that Angela (my wife) and I take each Saturday morning as a breakfast date. We make it a leisurely morning that is focused on our relationship. It does come at a cost as Saturday morning is usually the big project time for most people, but this has been important in our relationship. Additionally, for years we have had a family date where one night each week we go as a family to the local Barnes and Noble bookstore, read books, talk about the books and drink coffee. It has been a blessing to our family.

 – Health: Your physical health is important. We all know this, but it seems to be an area where so many of us struggle. Before our move we were working out five days a week and were feeling so much better. We had much more energy. Since the move, once or twice a week has been the best we have done and we can literally feel the difference. So, we have purposed together to get back into a healthier workout routine. I have read many times that if you will at least do three 30-minute workouts a week, you will dramatically improve your health.

 – Learning & Growth: We all need to be nurturing our minds and we need to be strategic in how we do so. We actually need a plan. One way is a reading list with a goal of so many books a month. Read in areas that help you grow spiritually, grow in your vocation, that stretches your boundaries, and finally just for fun. Also, start taking out interesting people for a cup of coffee and let them stretch your boundaries. Watch videos and listen to podcast. The main thing is to be intentional about your growth.

Of course there are many more things you could be doing and different variations. The point is that you identify what rhythms, or habits, work for you to help you to grow in all of these areas. The next thing, and the hardest thing, is to actually integrate them into your life. When you actually do, you will be amazed at the difference.

So, be intentional and begin to really flourish in life.



Want to Get More Done? Take a Walk

Good morning! The flowers are blooming here, but it is still raining up here in the Midwest. Everything is pretty soaked, but as you can tell from this picture my daughter took that the ducks are having fun!ducks in water

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the communication and information that is coming your way? First there is your computer with your multiple email accounts, your myriad of websites that you “need” to check, of course Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on. Then there is your smartphone that keeps you connected though texts, email, Facetime, and the occasional call. It sometimes seems we start our day by turning on our computer or checking our smartphone and then we spend the rest of the day just trying to manage the flood of information coming into our lives and end the day more tired than if we had been digging ditches all day.

The one thing we are missing in our day is one of the most important things we need to be doing – thinking. Most of us are called knowledge workers these days, but sometimes it feels more like we are simply information processors. We need to be spending more time actually thinking. One of the ways you can do this is to disconnect from all your tech gear and simply take a walk. Leave your smartphone at your desk and take a walk and think. Try to do this in the morning when your mind is fresh and creative.

You will be amazed at how your creativity increases and the insights you will have when you simply disconnect from the firehose of information and take the time to simply think. Try it today and see what happens.

Go take a walk.

Peace and grace to you today,

Want to be More Productive? Go to Sleep!

We finally have some rain here in southwest Michigan – what a blessing!

Do you want to be more productive, more energetic, and live longer? Try getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Most of us get six or less hours of sleep a night which leads to fatigue, poor thinking, and poor health. In fact, getting less than six hours of sleep a night on a prolonged basis increases your chance of heat disease by 48 percent.

Tony Schwartz, in a Harvard Business Review blog post goes into detail the benefits of getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night versus the six to six and a half most of us get or the less than six hours 30 percent of us get each night. The difference is astonishing.

Simply getting one or two more hours of sleep each night on a consistent basis will radically transform your life.

So what is keeping you from doing so? Habit? Do you really have to stay up to watch the news? Do you really have to check out everyone’s Facebook? Do you really need to surf the Web for a couple of hours?

Try changing your habits just a bit and feel better, be more productive, be happier, and live longer. Just try it!

Rest well tonight!

Self Care – How Are You Doing?

It is a beautiful morning!  A few clouds in the sky with the sunrise reflecting off of them producing amazing colors.

When you are in a ministry or non-profit, usually your focus is on serving and impacting others with the hope of seeing lives transformed. Often, the idea of taking care of yourself is not at the forefront of your mind or it may even seem self-centered or selfish. The problem is that if you don’t, you will at some point render yourself unable to serve others and may even disqualify yourself from leading and cause damage to others.

Fatigue is often associated with poor decision making and as we discussed in an earlier blog post, we are all just one poor decision away from being disqualified from leading.

So how are you doing in regards to self-care?  How are you caring for your soul?  Your walk with the Lord?  Do you have healthy rhythms of being quiet before Him, spending time in the Word and in worship?

How are you doing with the key relationships in your life? If married, are you investing heavily into that relationship? Just remember, well after you are no longer a leader in your ministry and they have moved on and even forgotten you, your spouse is the one that will still be with you. So, are you caring for them now?  Investing in that relationship now?

How about your overall health?  Physical, mental, and emotional? Are you caring for your body so that you extend your ministry?  Are you growing and exercising your mind?  Are you developing healthy relationships and thinking patterns that contribute to your emotional health?

With the right motivation, taking care of yourself in order to make yourself more effective is not only not selfish, it is a very necessary investment. Don’t make the mistake of not investing in your health.

Tony Schwartz has some excellent ideas on his website.  Not sure of his faith background, but still he has some good advice.  Also, check out Wayne Cordiero’s book, Leading on Empty.  Great book.  Also, his DVD Dead Leader Running is powerful.

Have a blessed time preparing to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Cant’t take a regular sabbatical – how about a “micro-sabbatical”?

Sabbaticals are increasingly being recognized as necessary for the health of key staff – especially leadership staff. We are just beginning to embrace the concept here at our ministry. One thing we are doing is requiring ten of our senior directors to take one day a month where they get off and meet with the Lord. It is not a catch up day, or clean up e-mail time or etc. It is a day to get quiet before the Lord. It is a mini-sabbatical of sorts.

Michael Hyatt in his blog addresses the concept of a “micro-sabbatical”. I really like the concept and his article. Following are a couple of excerpts from the blog post.

Creative rejuvenation. Spiritual revival. Professional development. Don’t sabbaticals sound nice? Yeah, except that’s Google we’re talking about. And Bill Gates, for crying out loud! These people practically run the world, so of course they can get away with blowing off real work for months at a time. Meanwhile the rest of us are simply grateful to be gainfully employed these days with a couple weeks of paid vacation.

But that doesn’t mean that you must deprive yourself from nurturing your depleted soul. How can you expect to be productive and creative, to lead effectively and to drive your enterprise forward if you neglect the simple act of taking care of yourself? It turns out that often the best ideas and moments of insight come when our minds are wandering, thinking about something else, or nothing at all. So it is absolutely critical to your leadership that you create some white space to get lost in from time to time.

Here are six micro-sabbatical ideas that can serve you well, without costing you your job.

1. Take a day off.
2. Schedule time for nothing
3. Start a practice of daily meditation.
4. Retreat to nature.
5. Get physical
6. Take in a seminar

The post is very good & worth your time to read.