How To Let Your Light Shine: A 3-Step Plan

How To Let Your Light Shine: A 3-Step Plan

Christians are ambassadors for Christ. We are required to let our influence be felt.

 

 

Matt 5: 13 -16 Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Many Christians struggle with this issue of making their presence felt. Some feel that they are shy. Others have doubt about what they have to offer.

A constant challenge for some Christians is “How can we increase our influence?”

I will share a sure fire 3-step process for increasing your influence in any environment – family, work, affiliations and the wider community.

Step 1: Build Trust

If you reflect on the people who have had the most influence on your life, you will find that they had at least one thing in common – you trusted them. You believed what they shared and trusted their wisdom and judgement. But how did you get to that point?

4 sub-steps unlock that mystery and provide the key to building trust.

Why did you trust?

  1. There was meaningful contact, often with a high level of frequency or regularity.

 Strive for regular meaningful communication with those you want to influence. That is one key to your success. Christ was with His disciples all time. He went to temple and places where He would be sure to contact the people He wanted to influence.

 You do not have to become a socialite. You can make a conscious effort to spend more quality time with those that are in your circle. People at work, school or in your neighbourhood.

 They satisfied some need that was important to you.

Identify the needs of those you seek to influence and satisfy as many as you can. At least work towards having their needs met.

 Christ fed and healed. He satisfied the needs of those who He wanted to influence.

 Matt 14: 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

 You might not be in a position to address all the physical needs of others but you can be there for them with respect to their emotional needs.

 You can also be a source of wise counsel to help them solve problems and make decisions.

  1. They reached out to you and you perceive that there was a sense of purpose related to the contact.

Make a conscious effort to reach out to those you seek to influence with shared goals in mind.

 Christ was clearly focused and dedicated to His purpose.

Luke 2:49  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Make letting your light shine an important item on your daily agenda.

  1. They delivered on promises. This is the bedrock of trust.

Only promise what you can deliver and deliver what you promise.

 Christ was sure in His pronouncements. Nothing that He said proved to be false or worthy of being doubted.

 Let your word be your bond. Never allow yourself be caught in a lie or a hollow promise.

Step 2: Be Admired/Respected

Cast your thoughts to the people that you admire or respect. It is likely that the basis of your admiration or respect could be placed into 2 categories:

  1. Their accomplishments and contributions
  2. Their character

What does this mean for you?

 Accomplishment/Contributions

  1. You can wield more influence if you accomplish more and make a greater contribution to your community and the world at large. If you are seen as a worthy citizen you will earn more credibility and wield more influence.
  2. That means that continuous learning and skills upgrade along with focus and commitment are essential ingredients on the path to letting your light shine brightly.
  3. Also, take care of your surroundings and be diligent.
  4. Take care to ensure that your accomplishments and contributions are in keeping with your role as an Ambassador for Christ.

Character

  1. Your behaviour (life) must be in keeping with the message that you are trying to send.
  2. In essence, you have to become a role model for the group. You have to be the living manifestation of what you want them to become. “Do as I (say ) do!”
  3. You need to be someone that they look up to.
  4. You need to be a source of inspiration. Walk the talk!

Step 3: Care

Why is it that most of us trusted our parents and took guidance from them?  At the core, it is because we believed that they cared about us. We believe that they had our best interest at heart and would spare no effort to satisfy our needs. We never felt as though they would lead us down the wrong path or betray our trust.

That is the ultimate blueprint for increasing your influence.

Matt 15: 32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

Demonstrate continuously that you care for those you seek to lead, influence or impact. Make it crystal clear that you are there to pull them up and not to push them down.

Follow this step-by-step plan for the next 60 days and witness a ground swell in your capacity to influence others.

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How To Deal With Cliques

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How To Deal With Cliques: A Mathematical Formula For Great Teamwork III

We are using the BOMDAS formula to strengthen teamwork.

BOMDAS is an acronym for Brackets| Of | Multiplication | Division |Addition | Subtraction

Under Brackets we established that Belonging is essential if the team is to achieve high levels of success – in our homes, in our workplaces, and in any group. We placed responsibility for achieving bonding and cohesiveness on the shoulders of the Team Leader.

While the brackets signify inclusion, they also indicate that some things should be kept separate. Including what should be excluded produces the wrong result!

Leaders must exclude anything that negatively impacts their teams.

Culprit #1: Cliques or Informal sub-groups

Among the greatest challenges to the smooth running of a group is the presence of a clique. The clique is a small set within the group that looks to a source other than the official leader for leadership. Cliques have the tendency to undermine the influence of the team leader — deliberately or as a by-product of their agenda.

What can a team leader do to limit the influence of cliques?

The first thing to note is that a clique should not be ignored as it could present a major challenge if allowed to grow in influence.

Note also that threats, ostracism, imposing muzzling rules and any method that relies on coercion will not produce sustained positive results. At best they drive the clique underground and set the stage for guerrilla warfare.

A clique exists because there is the perception of unmet needs – voices not being heard; unhappy with treatment or an aspiration for a greater share of power etc.

A leader’s effectiveness is enhanced by their capacity to uncover unfulfilled needs and then address them to the satisfaction or acceptance of the affected parties.

Here are some steps in your plan to address the challenge of a clique within your group:

Step 1: Review the issue of shared vision, goals and objectives.

  • Use information gathering techniques – surveys, focus groups, informal discussions – to glean information on the aspirations of team members.
  • Work to identify key areas of alignment of team member objectives with formal team objectives.
  • Carefully isolate factors that are not aligned and have the potential to be disruptive or distracting.

You should recognize that the quality of the information received from this exercise is directly related to the environment that has been created. Where there is low trust and a sense that leadership is not committed to the empowerment of team members, people are likely to suppress their true feelings. No matter who is responsible, as leader you must sell “I am different. This initiative is different”.

Step 2: Camp out on identified shared objectives

Place laser-focus on things held in common.

Effective leaders latch on to 2 – 3 shared objectives. They then package and sell them such that they are seen as the glue that holds the team together. If the objective is to win the Gold Medal in the relay then get the stars to run their assigned leg without fuss.

Leaders in every sphere must meet the challenge of identifying goals and objectives that can serve as the glue that holds the group together. When teams are guided into uniting around shared purpose their capacity for high performance is unlimited.

But it is not all milk and honey.

One particularly difficult clique arises when someone believes that they are better equipped to lead the group or for some reason refuses to embrace the leadership of the official leader. Ostracizing that individual and their supporters does not provide a sustained solution. Finding a mutually acceptable role for the individual in the process is a more viable solution. Reconcile rather than exile!

Leadership requires a transformed mind-set.

Our upcoming SHRM accredited “3-D Leader Certification” addresses dimensions not covered in traditional leadership training.

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy which is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications.

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Cohesiveness: How We Use Maths To Improve Teamwork

I002_Man&WomanArmWrestling

 

We are using the BOMDAS formula to strengthen our relationships in teams.

It is an acronym that depicts the order of operation:

Brackets| Of | Multiplication | Division |Addition | Subtraction

We are dealing with Brackets. Brackets speak to inclusion; belonging.

Belonging is essential if the team is to achieve high levels of success – in our homes, in our workplaces, and in any group. Groups experience different levels of bonding, unity or team spirit – what I call cohesiveness.

Yet, cohesiveness plays such a critical role in the life they experience.

History is replete with records of sports teams that triumphed primarily on the basis of their cohesiveness while the loser’s column is filled with those who were caught up in on and off the field strife and disunity.

Why is cohesiveness – bonding, unity, team spirit – so important? The oft used –Together Each Achieves More applies. Group work is more effective that independent individual effort.

It is useful to examine what is a team and why they add value.

My preferred definition is:

A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals and approaches for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

What can we learn from this definition?

A. People with complementary skills.

Team work incorporating Team Cohesiveness does NOT mean that everybody has to be same. Successful teams need people to bring different talents, perspectives and ideas to the table.

One sign of a successful team is the fact that it helps its members to achieve self-fulfillment. Team leaders must empower team members.

B. People who are committed to a common purpose.

The glue that holds the team together is the commitment to the common purpose. Without the commitment to the common purpose the team loses its compass.

Without the commitment to the common purpose, members do not have any point of reference that can hold them together. It is like using rubber bands to tie a team of wild horses together.

Commitment has two distinct and critically important components:

1. There must be a clearly identified purpose that is understood in the same way by all the members of the team.

2. The second component is that all the members of a functional team commit to the same understanding of the common purpose.

One indelible sign of a dysfunctional team is the fact that some members are wavering in their commitment to the common purpose.

C. People who are committed to a set of performance goals and approaches.

  •  Successful teams know where they are going. They also know how they are going to get there. In addition, they know if they are on track.
  • Successful teams are clear on the strategies and the activities that will lead them to the achievement of the common purpose.
  • Successful teams have guidelines and yardsticks that indicate to them whether they are on course or not.
  • ​Successful teams do not lose bearing and lose momentum because they have set performance goals that keep them on track.

In successful teams members:

  •  Know and commit to the performance goals. They understand that the guidelines and yardsticks are tied to the attainment of the common purpose.
  • Understand and buy into an agreed approach that is tied to performance goals that lead to attainment of the common purpose.
  • Do NOT come up with their own approaches and guidelines as they deem fit. This issue of the importance of commitment to the team and its values is not widely understood and accepted. That is why there is so much conflict and lack of cohesiveness in households, in work groups, in organizations, in communities and the wider society.

D. Team members must be mutually accountable.

Without accountability things fall apart. Great teams accept the need for discipline and team members are open to receiving feedback.

LEADERSHIP has a critical role in addressing these issues.  The upcomingSHRM accredited 3-D Leader Certification deals directly with those challenges among others. It deals frontally with successfully leading difficult, dominant and diverse team members.

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy which is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications.

Home of the ICF accredited “Certified Behavioural Coach Award.”

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How To Use A Math Formula To Improve Teamwork

MathFormulaForTeamwork

 

At school I learned the life-saving BOMDAS formula without which solving Algebra problems would be impossible.

The order of operation should be:

Brackets | Of  | Multiplication  | Division  | Addition |  Subtraction

Here is an example:

Solve: 7 + (6 + 3) x 5 – 4 ÷ 2

Step 1 [Brackets]:  7+ 9 x 5 – 4 ÷ 2

Step 2 [Multiplication & Division]: 7 + 45 – 2

Step 3 [Addition]: 52 – 2

Step 4 [Subtraction]: 50

Answer = 50

I want to explore with you its application in the realm of teamwork and healthy relationships. Applying the BOMDAS rules creatively could help address some of the challenges that produce a lack of cooperation in groups at a time when effective teamwork is critical for success.

Brackets

The brackets represent both inclusion and exclusion. It indicates that the things within the brackets have something in common that sets them apart from things outside. It also dictates that the things within the brackets should be given similar treatment.

Let’s now take the leap from the abstract to the real live challenge of working cohesively with others.

The first concept is “Belonging”.

One common problem in dysfunctional teams is the failure of members to identify with the team. They don’t see themselves as being part of the whole that is bonded by common objectives and shared goals.

The brackets say – there is a bond that ties us together. The on the ground reality is that many speak of their teams in terms of they instead of we.

Other tell-tale signs that the brackets are meaningless include the fact that team successes are not celebrated as personal successes. It is like a disgruntled player coming home to report that they won the match. After investigation you realize that it is actually his team that won. From the bench he does not see himself as belonging in the team and so he refers to his team as they.

Today’s crisis of low employee engagement has some of its roots in the fact that some team members feel like bystanders rather than being actively engaged in the field of play.

Do a bit of investigative work over the next days and listen carefully to the dialogue of colleagues – your team and other groups. See how often you can detect pride in the accomplishments of the group to which the individual belongs.

In cohesive and functional teams the pride comes from just being a part of the team. Members champion the cause of the team as a whole and each member individually. Team member Jenny’s graduation is ours. In a real sense it might be because we helped so much with her research projects and proof reading her submissions!

That is the spirit that fuels high performing teams and tightly connected groups.

Meanwhile, back in dysfunctional land, Desmond has been like a zombie since he was passed over for the Team Leader role. He might not openly tear down what Martha puts forward but his lack of interest cannot be missed. It is also noticeable that people who were close to Desmond and who felt that he should have got the promotion are also not engaged.  The separation is not only mental as they have now started to eat as a clique in a corner of the lunch room.

This team is on a downward spiral and the impact will soon be evident in their key performance indicators (KPIs).

Unfortunately, it is Martha’s responsibility as Team Leader to solve the problem. She may not have appointed herself but now it is her job to get the best from her team.

She needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with Desmond. She can share that she has observed that he is not the dynamic, vibrant person of three months ago and she would like to discuss the change. She needs to steer clear of even a hint of accusation with respect to his lack of support.

One strategy that might work well for Martha is for her to find some solution – a role, maybe – that helps Desmond to save face and feel better about himself. Could she identify a discrete part of her responsibility and invite him to take charge of it without weakening her authority?

That could produce the benefits of getting Desmond engaged once more while giving her the opportunity to focus on other areas. Of course, if Desmond messes up that would provide grounds for another conversation.

Leading teams is a challenging endeavor that requires a cross-section of well-developed competences. Formal ongoing professional development is essential.

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy which is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications.

Home of the ICF accredited “Certified Behavioural Coach Award.”

Joint venture partner Extended DISC/FinxS Caribbean …world leading behavioral assessment solutions.

 

 

 

Tough Minds For Tough Times

Tough Minds For Tough Times

 

Tough Times

 

 

 

 

Someone brought into focus the idea that a major flaw in our make-up is the tendency for us to seek the easy way out. When faced with tough decisions there is a strong temptation and tendency for us to choose less difficult options. We don’t look forward to struggle, pain and suffering with glee.

Yet James would have us turn our world upside down:

James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This issue took over my thoughts when I saw someone on TV going across a narrow bridge with no guard rails over a deep gorge. A fall would lead unquestionably to death. I found myself thinking that I could not do that. I could not walk across – I would be too scared.

That prompted a swift chastisement of my mind for that kind of negative thinking and inspired the view that we have grown lax in the use of our minds. We have become loose in our thinking and allowed our minds to run wild without firm control.

James 3 vs  3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. The bit there is what we call today a bridle.

I think we underestimate the power that we walk around with at the top of our bodies. We lose sight of how trainable our minds are. I actually did some research on breaking in a horse. A 5-step process is recommended.

  1. Gain the trust of your horse. Having a personal relationship with your horse is imperative in building trust with him, leading to training later on. Spend time with your horse everyday, starting with just being near him.

Our minds have been dominated by the impostor self that Christ has told us to deny. In same way that you can’t just throw a saddle on a wild stallion, we need to approach this mind taming process systematically.

The first stage then would be to spend time truly discovering on a daily basis what is going on in your mind. Get to really know who you are – mentally. What interests you, what inspires you, what scares you, what frustrates you, what tempts you, what angers you, what embarrasses you, what prompts you to hide your true feelings?

  1. Practice Safety. Horses are powerful and you need to be careful around them.

Well, you are about to change the behaviour of a mind that has been carefully groomed by forces that will not easily see their investment go to waste. If you get over-confident and careless during the exercise you could experience a backlash.

Eph 612 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

  1. Take it one step at a time.Breaking a horse is a slow process. You have to fully make each step a habit before moving on to the next step.

As we go about regaining control of our minds and bringing them under subjection we should start with micro-steps.

Your rational true self decides that you should get up and go and exercise.  Impostor self pulls the cover back over your head.

Those are the battles that we need to win before we can talk about not conforming to the world. We have to let our bodies know who is calling the shots now.

You know that you are falling behind in reading the Bible in a year but every part of said body suddenly starts hurting you and your eyes are now burning like fire. Clearly, there is no option but to go to bed and hope you feel better the next day.

Read what Paul says we need to do about bodies who think they have a mind of their own:

1Co 9:25 Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever. 26 That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. 27 I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.  (GNB)

We have allowed ourselves to grow soft and we need to toughen up in order to get ready for the challenges that life throws at us.

We have to track down every “can’t be bothered”; every “I don’t feel like it”; every “it is too much trouble”; all “it’s too hard”; and every “I can’t manage it”.

Turn bright searchlights on “I know this not so right but…”

Some of our minds are galloping downhill like a runaway stage coach.  We have to rein them in before it is eternally too late.

Take one bad habit at a time and work on it until the replacement becomes a habit. Like with the training of the horse you should not move on until the new habit is formed.

As you go through the process of looking into thoughts, words and deeds identify things that you would be better off without. Aspire to be a better person.

Did you catch yourself envying someone?

Is selfishness lurking within? What about jealousy? Maybe arrogance, unjustified levels of stubbornness. Are you guilty of being disrespectful when you are holding the handle?

This exercise in saddling, taming and reining in our minds is a great opportunity for spring cleaning.

But training is not only about bad habits.

We can also aspire to develop our minds in new, positive directions. We can expand our horizons.

What about working to develop a spirit of bravery… consider the early church

Or your capacity to deal with major challenges – Job

Or to offer wise counsel – Major prophets

Or to show compassion – Joseph

With God’s guidance we can bend our minds to be what we want them to be. Let us stop settling for less than we can be.

Let’s take this to another level. Show jumpers don’t just turn up at the show ground and expect to get through the course without penalty. Horse and rider spend hours in preparation.

We cannot expect to clear life’s obstacle course without adequate preparation. We have to get our minds ready for the challenges that we will face in life.

  • Failed relationships
  • Betrayal
  • Bereavement
  • Financial disaster
  • Major health challenges

James took care to show us what is possible for us.

James 5: 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.  18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

It all comes down to the bridling of our minds to get them to do what they need to do. Rein in our minds and life can take on new meaning. Let us toughen our minds as we prepare for tough times.

Decide right here right now to work on one mind building project. Over the next 60 days you are going to have a new habit manifest itself in your life.

Transformation projects work more effectively when you declare them to at least one person who will hold you accountable.

Work on any area of your life. In fact, it might be best not to take on too challenging a task initially. Start out with something that you can ace and build on that success.

  1. Never get angry is the next step in breaking in the horse.

The suggestion is that yelling and beating the horse pushes back the trust and bonding that you have been working to develop.

One huge challenge in moving to behavioural transformation is negative self-talk. An emotional outburst of anger directed at ourselves resonates at the subconscious level and actually has the opposite effect of what we desire. What stands out is that we are clumsy or careless or stupid. Not that we could be a little more attentive, careful or thoughtful.

A calm yet firm and consistent prodding in the right direction will get best results.

Remember that you are the champion of taking special care on stairs.

Or the empowering question version: Why do I always take special care on stairs?

Getting angry sometimes also has the effect in causing us to abort the process. We give up frustration because we can’t deal with the constant annoyance. Taming the beast requires patience and long-suffering. Make progress slowly but steadily. Only never quit!

  1. Reward successes. Giving the horse positive reinforcement is very important in bringing about the desired change.

Catching people doing the right thing has proven to be more effective in achieving lasting behavioural transformation than looking out for faults and berating them about their shortcomings.

The same thing happens internally. Celebrate when you get it right. When you get it wrong, gently provide guidance to get back on track.

If the horse goes off track, using the rein and applying pressure with the knee can help them to correct course.

Similarly, if you missed out on completing a task you could reinforce the need for compliance by cutting out your favourite cable show and doing it then.

Tough times requires tough minds.

Let us stop the drift towards minds that are unbridled, lacking in discipline and without direction.

Let us work to develop one new habit within 60 days.

If you have not put on Christ in baptism that is an excellent project. Make that decision now and we will work to bring your project to completion.