How To Give Negative Feedback To A Dominant Individual

 

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How To Give Negative Feedback To A Dominant Individual 

How to lead dominant team members is mystery for many managers. The situation gets worse when faced with the task of giving negative feedback to what is considered to be “difficult people.”

I share some practical steps with related case study extracts to guide you to effectively give negative feedback to dominant individuals.

Using my DISCerning Communication principles, persons who come across as dominant are placed in the red, Outgoing-Task-oriented quadrant of the DISC Framework. One foundation principle of DISCerning Communication is that we have four tool-kits to navigate through life and cope with its challenges. While we have access to all four tool-kits we tend to have preferences and it takes more energy and focus for us to use some of the tool-kits.

The four DISC tool kits are:

Dominance (D-Style) – direct, driven, determined, decisive, daring

Inducement (I-Style) – innovative, inspiring, inter-connected, influential, impulsive

Steadiness (S-Style) – steadfast, stable, supportive, service-oriented, single-minded

Conscientiousness (C-Style) – cautious, compliant, critical-thinking, consistent, curious

How to give negative feedback to D-Style behavior

Giving negative feedback to someone who has a preference for using the D-style is NOT as risky as you may think. One key is to be reflect on the context in which the feedback is framed.

  1. Context

 I suggest that you use the competitiveness of the D-Style user as the starting point and position the feedback in the context of winning.

Re-state agreed objectives and related rewards and reinforce why keeping the feedback loop open facilitates winning. Achieving the objectives takes preeminence and all of us need to look beyond personal issues in our quest for success.

NOTE: It is important to ensure that the D-Style user has bought in to your objectives and is committed to its achievement.

Securing buy-in and vision alignment is the single most important key to effectively leading individuals who have a preference for the D-Style.

Case study

 D operated a small family business. He had a major challenge in getting negative feedback from his employees. They interpreted his take charge approach as an indication that he did not want any interference. Some feared they would lose their jobs if they appeared to be criticizing D. Meanwhile, D lamented that he only had yes men in his employ. D knew that honest feedback was essential to getting a competitive edge.

2. Privacy

Take care to present negative feedback in private. This should apply to all styles but is especially important for D-Style users. Think back from your time in school about the student that would endure punishment rather than back down in order to save face. I suggest that you avoid the issue of saving face by making sure that there is no audience.

Case Study

D gets a visit from her boss. On leaving he stands at the open door and makes a comment in the hearing of D’s staff that she believes undermines her authority. D makes a decision right then to quit the job. She points out to the boss in the exit interview that his lack of respect for her was the primary cause of her leaving.

3. Pulling rank

 Do not make the error of confusing a passionate attempt to challenge your conclusions and to justify their personal actions as a lack of respect or insubordination.

D-Style users will tend to put up a strong defense of their actions. They will tend to be animated in the discourse and this is often seen as dominating the conversation. Too many managers feel insecure at those times and seek the security of their positions to control the dialogue.

The interesting consideration is that more animated defenses are really a show of respect. The D-style recipient respects the person giving the feedback and desperately wants to correct the negative impression that they seem to have! Be more concerned if your negative feedback is accepted without any pushback. You probably have lost that D-Style team member.

Case Study

The CEO decided to intervene directly after yet another employee was about to be sacked for insubordination by the same line manager. The manager had an old school approach that forbade “talking back”. The CEO figured that it would not be long before they would lose all their D-style employees.

 4. Cause

Establish the underlying reason why negative feedback is necessary.

  • If the D-style user is keen to win and is driven by achieving objectives, then why is there a deviation from that path?
  • Are the instructions clear?
  • Are the necessary resources in place?
  • Is there an element of resistance and if so, what is the cause?

Case Study

The D-style Plant Manager had developed an unorthodox but seemingly successful strategy for giving feedback to his under performing D-style staff. He would pull out a copy of the Organizational Chart and mark an X on it. He would write You are here beside the X. He then proceeded to explain what being here meant in terms of the performance requirements. He would close the interview by pointing out that the X would be erased if their performance did not meet the requirements. Most of the D-Style employees took a “Don’t test me” approach, comfortably exceeded the requirements and walked with a swag in the presence of the Plant Manager.

Application

Take time to consider strategies for effectively giving negative feedback to D-style colleagues in situations that are directly related to your normal activities.

Discuss your ideas with a colleague.

Join me as the Training Magazine and Sales & Marketing Magazine sponsors my live webinar: “Is Your Coaching Truly Effective? Let’s Change That”.  Thu, Jul 06, 2017 at 11AM Pacific / 2PM Eastern http://www.smmconnect.com/events/1157?gref=SMMCtwitter

Trevor E S Smith develops high performing teams and certifies leader-coaches using DISCerning Communication techniques. The Success with People Academy is the home of the revolutionary FinxS Platform from Extended DISC. Hire Smart, Conduct Employee Satisfaction Surveys, 360 Performance Evaluations and Team Reports using logistics-friendly technology.

Contact: E-mail: info@swpacademy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belonging – An Essential Feature Of High Performing Teams

 

Belonging – An Essential Feature Of High Performing Teams

MathFormulaForTeamwork

A lack of cooperation is one of the challenges that frustrates effective teamwork. The absence of a sense of “belonging” goes to the heart of the issue.

Brackets

As in Algebra, groups apply brackets when conducting their affairs.

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.

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.

Another tell-tale sign that the brackets are meaningless in terms of inclusion, is the fact that team successes are not celebrated as personal successes. It is like a disgruntled defender coming home to report that they won the match. From the bench he does not see himself as belonging in the team.

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.

Join me in the Training Magazine and Sales & Marketing Magazine sponsors a live webinar: “Is Your Coaching Truly Effective? Let’s Change That”.  Thu, Jul 06, 2017 at 11AM Pacific / 2PM Eastern http://www.smmconnect.com/events/1157?gref=SMMCtwitter

Trevor E S Smith develops high performing teams and certifies leader-coaches using DISCerning Communication techniques. The Success with People Academy is the home of the revolutionary FinxS Platform from Extended DISC. Hire Smart, Conduct Employee Satisfaction Surveys, 360 Performance Evaluations and Team Reports using logistics-friendly technology.

Contact: E-mail: info@swpacademy.com

 

How To Avoid Costly Mistakes: Top 3 Causes

 

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“But I thought….” is the lead-in to millions of lost strands of hair and even more dollars. Re-work challenges real work for primacy.

Why is it so difficult to give and receive instructions?

The ability to give instructions that get it done, when the task is to be done, in the way it should be done escapes even seasoned leaders.

I have distilled 3 recurring factors that disrupt the giving and receiving of instructions. Working on reducing their impact will bring greater peace of mind and reduce re-work losses significantly.

#3. Different starting points

I land at the Miami Airport and go to pick up my rented car. I ask for instructions as to how to reach my destination. Detailed instructions are given – Exit # off I-95 and the lane to take on nearing the Exit.

I get in the car and after circling the airport twice, I return to the parking lot and seek instructions as to how to get on to I-95.

The agent thought I knew how to navigate from the parking lot on to I-95 and I was too ignorant to realize the difficulty.

Assuming that the person receiving the instruction is further ahead of where they are in reality is a major cause of frustrating mistakes and failed attempts. Hubby bought the wrong brand – shucks!

The added problem is that this often takes place in situations where there is a need for urgency.

Beware “Go now!” … “Do now!” Mistakes lurk behind them.

Darling, run to the store and buy some salt. Now honey!

Oh, no what is this …you know we only use sea salt!

You assumed incorrectly.

The messenger is advised to break speed records to get a bid in before the deadline. His attempts at seeking clarification are rebuffed with the call for immediate action. Go now!

He does get to the building in time but the 15 minutes it takes to find the right bid box causes him to miss the deadline. The dispatchers failed to start where he was. The things he wanted clarified were blocked by the deceitfulness of urgency and wrong assumptions.

Solution: Make no assumptions. Correction – assume that the person receiving the instruction is clueless and needs to be guided from appropriate starting points. Treat urgent situations with caution… they mask costly mistakes.

#2: “I got it!”

Without giving away too much about an instructive exercise from our Time & Task Management workshops, I watched the equivalent of the following play out as a senior professional gave instructions to a colleague:

Giver: “Go to the left”

Receiver: Voices “Left” but moves to the right

Giver: “Move forward”

Receiver: “Forward” but moves backward.

This actually happened and I share why.

I presented an outcome that should achieve and demonstrated one way to get there. One person was designated to give instructions to their partner with backs turned. No questions were allowed.

The receiver had a clear picture of the procedure that I used and was replicating that even while acknowledging in words the contrary instructions being given. He knew what to do and stopped listening.

Failure to listen effectively causes many costly mistakes. Hearing is not equal to listening.

Solution: Engage in meaningful two-way exchanges of information until you are convinced that the instructions have been received without distortion. Monitoring execution is also critical.

#1. Failure to follow procedure

Nadad and Abihu grew up in the temple as sons of Aaron – the High Priest. They would have witnessed countless sacrifices and would have been trained how to offer sacrifices. Yet, they departed from established procedure and lost their lives. (Bible – Leviticus 10)

User error is a primary cause of costly mistakes – despite manuals and training.

Solution: Seek ways to make adjustments to SYSTEMS that reduce user error.

Examples: Insert verification processes or use physical devices. Align that with improved training, monitoring and supervision. Increasing penalties is also a deterrent.

Register now for the SHRM-accredited 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People or our on-demand “Time & Task Management” course. E-mail: info[at]swpacademy.com

 

The next cohort of the ICF-accredited Certified Behavioral Coach Award starts in January 2017.

E-mail: info[at]swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy, Extended DISC/FinxS.  The Success with People Academy 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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Where Did The Time Go?

Where DidTheTimeGo_selfcreated

 

Where Did The Time Go?

That expression is usually rhetorical. But, do you really know where your time is going?

If you are a normal human you can identify with that question. Sometimes we check the time and are struck by how quickly it has passed.

I recommend that you conduct an audit of how you spend your time. That action is one of the most transformational activities that you can undertake.

We hold mental images of who we are and what is important to us. However, it is what we do that defines us. How we spend our time is what gives us our true identity.

This time audit will expose the real YOU.

 

What is involved?

The requirement is that you track how you use each 24-hour day for 30 days.

The intention is not to place an additional burden on your time. Consequently, avoid using methods that take a lot of time.

It is important that you record events and activities as close as possible to their occurrence. Do not sit at night recording what you recall about the day’s activities.

You will get an amazing bonus from recording who initiates each action. Note down who made the contact or who gave the assignment. Slip in the nature and duration of each activity.

Here is one value of identifying who is involved in your activities – especially those initiated by others:

“Interruptions” are identified as one the major challenges to be overcome by my Time & Task Management participants. In many instances, the principal culprit is a supervisor who considers herself to be super-efficient. Reduce top-down interruptions with this strategy.

Some supervisors are guilty of blurting. Here is an example of blurting in action:

Jane starts her day by going through her incoming mail and To Do List. As she goes through she takes immediate action.

Item 3 requires John to do something. Jane summons John.

Item 5 involves John. Jane contacts John. And the process continues.

While Jane is being seemingly efficient, she is making it difficult for John to manage his time effectively. Organizations suffer badly from poor TIME TEAMWORK.

We must function as teams and the focus should be on how the team uses its time and not just the individual.

The time audit is the perfect antidote to blurting.

John might not have the luxury of telling Jane that she is negatively impacting his productivity. However, he could refer to this article and its recommended time audit exercise.

He can share from the audit the frequency, duration and content of his contact with Jane. He could translate that into dollars using his rate of pay x 2.

If Jane is a worthy team leader, the information should make compelling reading. The parties could then agree to meet at specified times during the day. Any issue that arises in between meetings will be held until the next session. Jane’s blurting would have been moderated.

Of course, Jane does not have the monopoly on interruptions. John’s time audit will identify the interactions that he has on a regular basis. He can then determine if that is the most effective use of his time and make the necessary adjustment.

True You

The Time Audit adds another dimension to self-discovery. It will highlight whether your professed commitments are supported by concrete action. It points to habits good and bad that have entered into your reality.

I strongly urge that you complete this 30-day, 24-hour audit of how you spend your time. Who, what, how often and how much are all laid out for your review and decision-making.

As an added incentive for men, John can also use the audit to highlight to his wife the absence of certain activities. Wives will point to the need for more quality time together.

BOMDAS followers we are at Addition: Brackets|Of|Multiplication|Division|Addition|Subtraction.

Access the series here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/ Enter in search: Outlook Trevor E S Smith

Register now for the SHRM accredited 3-D Leader Certification course. November 6 & 7. Kingston/face-to-face.

The next cohort of the ICF/SHRM accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award will be January 2016.

E-mail: info[at]swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy, Extended DISC/FinxS.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 The Year to C.A.R.E. – Parables for Implementation

2015 the Year to C.A.R.E.

I want to share some thoughts related to making 2015 the Year to C.A.R.E.

C.A.R.E. represents CONNECTION to God the Source, ACCESS to Him, READINESS to accept His Blessings, and active ENGAGEMENT in His Service.

Today, I want to present three parables that might help to make C.A.R.E. more real for you and those with whom you share its principles.

Firstly, C.A.R.E. is like a smart phone in the possession of a young person – especially one in love. Or C.A.R.E. can be likened to a small businessman and his cell phone.

What does Connection mean to that young person or businessman in relation to their phone?

24/7/365 proximity

  • They are constantly in contact with their phone. If they are going through the gate and realize the phone is not with them, they are going back for it.
    • Are we as serious about ensuring that we are never out of contact with God?
    • How often do we rush into our daily activities without even a reflection on the God who gave us another day?
    • The songwriter asks “Ere you left your room this morning did you think to pray?”
  • They ensure that the phone is constantly charged. If by some fluke their battery dies they scramble to get it recharged. It is amusing to go into airports to watch how people search out electrical outlets and gather around the charging stations that are now increasingly in place.
    • Are we as serious about ensuring that our spiritual batteries are fully charged?
    • Do we allow our spiritual batteries to run down to the point where the devil has a field day with us?
    • Ever wondered why sometimes temptations seem to come from every direction and our capacity to reject them is not as strong as it should be?
    • Could it be that we have allowed our Bible study and prayer life to run down?
    • Could it be that we have neglected meditating on God’s word and allowed wandering thoughts to occupy our minds?
  • They are profuse in their apology if for some reason they are out of touch with their phone for any period or have allowed the battery to die. “I am so sorry, I missed your call.”
    • How sorry are we when we ignore God for extended periods?
    • How terrible do we feel when we repeatedly miss God’s calls? “Don’t go to that party tonight, those are not people with whom you should associate!” 6 missed calls. So you turn up and end up in the devil’s tentacles.

 

Heavy reliance on access

  • Today’s smart phone is a wrist watch, clock and calendar. Ask the time and people go into their pockets. Do a survey of how many people actually wear a watch these days.
  • The phone is today’s newspaper. This is where we go for news.
  • Ask me something that I don’t know and give me a minute or two and I will consult my trusty phone for an answer.
  • How much will it cost to get 7 of those, 9 of that and 14 of the other……moment …. Trusty phone calculate this for me.
  • The phone might not be oxygen but our reliance on it is remarkable.
    • Are we as reliant on God for direction as to how to navigate each day?
    • Do we consult God’s word for answers?
    • Are we constantly tapping into God’s bountiful blessings that He has prepared for us?

Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Remember, God is the source of solutions. He can provide answers to the challenges you face daily. The key is that you need to get connected to the source. You need to be in Christ to access “every spiritual blessing”.

Let 2015 be a year of constant ACCESS.

Christ invites us in Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Prayer is a very powerful tool. It acts as the plumbing through which the blessings of God may be channeled into our daily existence.

The beautiful thing is that we do not need any credit to talk with God!

2015 should be a year in which we dramatically deepen our prayer lives. Let us pray often and fervently for others, for our projects and for God’s continued guidance and protection.

Let us pray fervently and without ceasing. James 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18

Responsiveness

  • They answer the phone after a couple of rings. Extremely responsive to incoming calls.
    • That is how we are to be to God and His constant attempts to reach out to us through His word and His representatives.
    • How responsive are we to opportunities to hear what God has to communicate to us?
    • Is God listed by name in our contact list so that we can jump to get His calls as a matter of priority or is He coming through to us as a Private Number?
    • Take your Bible Study off SILENT!!!

Let 2015 be a year for READINESS. Let us prepare to maximize the benefits that are available to us as baptized followers of Christ. Let us respond eagerly to God’s incoming calls.

  • Is this a text to share the Gospel with the individual that is beside you right now?
  • Is this a text to call a brother or sister who needs some encouragement right now?
  • Is this a text to remind you of a passage that will lift you out of the ugly mood that is taking you over right now?
  • Is this a text advising you to make an important call right now that will land you the job that you have been praying about?
  • Is this a text to reconfirm that Christ has paid the price for your sins and that your plea for forgiveness has been accepted and you can release yourself from the guilt trip that is depressing you right now?
    • Like the businessman who feels that this call could result in a large contract, be ready respond to spiritual calls.
    • Like lovers who have not communicated for over an hour, answer spiritual calls on the first ring with excitement and expectation.
    • Stop treating God’s calls as a “Please call me” from a stranger.

Social integration

Gone are the days of visiting friends physically. Now we have many more “friends” and we keep abreast of what is happening with them via our phones.

We can recite what is happening to friends, “friends”, celebrities and even animals injured in forest fires.

  • What if we were as engaged in what is happening to our brothers and sisters?
  • What if we were not only engaged in gathering information?
  • What if we were to get information in order to add value and provide support?
  • Romans 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
  • Phil 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 

C.A.R.E. can also be likened to an ambitious young lady with significant responsibilities who lands a well-paying dream job.

Front of mind

  • The job immediately takes up residence in the front of her mind.
  • She is constantly thinking about things that she can do to improve her performance. She definitely wants to be confirmed in this job.
    • What if God and His people could be given as much space in our minds?
    • What if we could be so occupied with reflecting on how our day as a servant of God went?
    • What if the last thought we had before going off to sleep was completion of an action plan for God’s work tomorrow in His vineyard?

Compliance

  • She is the model of compliance.
  • She is never late for work.
  • She drags herself to work despite flu, Chik-V and other ailments combined. She is not missing a day.
  • She follows the guidelines. She can’t see the logic behind some of them but who is she to question and challenge their rules.
  • She completes assignments without a murmur and makes herself available for other responsibilities. An early promotion is her career goal.
    • What if we treated the church and its leaders with similar respect?
    • What if we did everything possible to be on time every time?
    • What if we were determined never to miss a day of worship?
    • What if we bought into the leadership of the evangelist, Youth Group and Ladies Group leaders?
    • What if we were quick to put up our hands to volunteer for spiritual work in the hope of an early promotion by God?
    • Heb 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

 

Lifestyle changes

  • Soon after her confirmation and a few months in the job, lifestyle changes start to be manifested.
  • Wardrobe changes become noticeable.
  • She starts to make plans to add more items to her list of monthly expenditure.
  • She makes preparation to accept the positive impact of the increased income in her life.
  • That in turn, inspires her to ensure that nothing happens to cut off the supply. Instead, she ponders how much better life would be if she could reach an even higher level.
  • She devotes herself to preparation that could make that a reality.
    • What if we viewed God’s providence in the same way?
    • What if we treasured how richly we are blessed?
    • What if we took time to name every blessing, every answered prayer?
    • What if we were careful not to make anything hinder the flow of blessings from God?
    • Deut 28: 15 However, if you do not obeythe Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: 16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.

 

Networking

  • Our ambitious lady understands that networking is a key to success with respect to her career.
  • She takes care to engage her colleagues in the lunch room.
  • She does not miss opportunities to socialize with them.
  • If the opportunity arises she reaches out to clients and potential customers.
  • She is never shy to share information about her dream organization.
    • What if we took that same attitude to engaging brothers and sisters?
    • What if we were keen to share how great this organization is?
    • What if we told all who would listen how great a boss God is?
    • What if we freely shared that there were vacancies in this organization and a dream position was available for them in Christ’s church?

 

Finally, C.A.R.E. can be likened to a first time, caring mother and her infant child.

  • At no point is the mother unaware of where the child is.
  • She is constantly there to attend to the child’s every need.
  • She is overly protective. She ensures that no harm comes to the child.
  • She does all in her power to see to the comfort and orderly development of her child.
  • She grooms the child to master life challenges and to lead a successful life.
  • She spends time communicating with the child.
  • She builds a strong bond with the child.
  • She leaves no doubt that her love is unconditional and unfailing.
    • That is how God sees us!
    • What if we could be as dependent and comforted as the infant is in God’s love and care?
    • What if we could allow ourselves to fully appreciate the amazing love that God has for us?
    • What if we could really understand how much God wants us to succeed and do great things to His glory?

If I can cast your minds back to the Smart Phone there are some fundamental lessons to be learned:

  1. The smart phone is only available from a service provider.
  2. You have to complete their application process to get the phone.
  3. You have to comply with their rules to maintain access.

Christ is the sole source of spiritual blessings.

To get those blessings you must comply His rules for access.

 

  1. Why Jesus? He saves us our souls

Acts 4: 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

What must WE do to save our souls?

  1. Hear the Word – the Gospel
  • John 6: 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
  • Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Believe
  • Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
  • John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Repent

 2 Cor 7:Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter,(N) I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation(O) and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern,(P) what readiness to see justice done.

  • Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.
  • Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Confess Jesus is Lord
  • Matt 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
  • Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Be baptized for the remission of your sins
  • Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
  • Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  • 1 Pet 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

  What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Remain in Christ
  • John 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
  • Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  • 1 Pet 2: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

 

  1. Why Jesus? He provides solutions to our problems in this life

Now that you are in Christ, the amazing rewards are open to you.

Is 59: 1.Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Eph 1: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the Father who says:

Jer 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there any thing too hard for me?

 Why Jesus?

Because it makes SENSE!

If you are here and you have not put on Christ in baptism. Get connected today by having your sins washed away in baptism and take up your post in Christ’s church…..a dream job.

If you have allowed your spiritual battery to run down, recharge. Access the blessings that are in store for you in Christ.

If you have not been taking your role as a Christian as seriously as a new employee works to ensure confirmation, commit today to shake off your slothfulness.

Let 2015 be the year that you C.A.R.E. >>> Connection, Access, Readiness, Engagement.

God bless you!

Let 2015 Be The Year To C.A.R.E.

2015 the Year to C.A.R.E.

2014 might have been a dry and thirsty period for you.

You may have had health issues. Many have been impacted by Chik-V and are still suffering from its ill effects. Some of you may be contending with other nagging and persistent health issues.

Others among you may have been experiencing financial challenges. Your expenses consistently outstrip your income. Money worries is your constant companion.

You may have mounting debt that you are unable to contain and settle.

It may be that you fear that your future sources of income may be threatened.

2014 might have represented a cross-roads with respect to your career. You might feel stuck and at a dead end. Others might actually be out of a job and unsure about how soon they will find one.

The great news is that 2015 offers a solution for whatever “dry and thirsty” condition you have been experiencing. However, your #1 priority must be to get connected to the source.

I want to share some thoughts on the subject “2015 – the Year to C.A.R.E.”

C.A.R.E. represents CONNECTION, ACCESS, READINESS, and ENGAGEMENT

Let 2015 be a year that as your #1 priority you get connected to the source of all good things.
Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Check also Deut 28:1 -3

God is the source of solutions. He is able. God can provide answers to the challenges you faced in 2014. The key is that you need to get connected to the source. You need to be in Christ to access “every spiritual blessing”.
To be in Christ you must believe that there is a God who created us and has a plan for our souls. (Romans 3:21 -23; Hebrews 11:6)

You must believe that there is a God who has a plan for us. You must appreciate the sacrifice that Christ made for us to be reconciled with God. That should cause you to regret the life outside of Christ that you lived and commit to living in obedience to God. Luke 13:2

You must also make the confession “Jesus Christ is Lord”. Phil 2:11 This is a public declaration of our belief that Jesus is the Son of the Living God and that God raised Him from the dead after He paid the price for our sins. Rom 10: 8-10

We must then be baptized for the removal of our sins.
Gal 3: 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.

At that point you have put on Christ and you are in Christ. Many opportunities are now opened to you. One is that you are added to His Church. There you are able to access the exclusive blessings that are in Christ.

You are now CONNECTED.

Some people gave their lives to Christ at some point but are not accessing the full benefits that flow from that relationship. They have lost touch with Christ and His influence is not manifest in their lives.
Let 2015 be a year of ACCESS.

Christ invites us in Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Prayer is a very powerful tool. It acts as the plumbing through which the blessings of God may be channeled into our daily existence.

2015 should be a year in which we dramatically deepen our prayer lives. Let us pray often and fervently for others, for our projects and for God’s continued guidance and protection.

Some people prepare themselves for blessings. They open their minds to unending possibilities.
On the other hand, others seem to be so unprepared. They do not appear to be ready for what access to the source could mean for them.

Let 2015 be a year for READINESS. Let us prepare to maximize the benefits that are available to us as baptized followers of Christ.

Let us pray fervently and without ceasing. James 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18

Let us draw on the examples of how God has delivered people out of the crises and opened unbelievable opportunities for others.

Our path to Readiness must also include focus on our personal development. We need to put serious effort in upgrading and honing our talents. Critically, we can seek guidance to expand our range of talents. There are loads of needs to be met. Will you commit to preparing yourself to being better equipped to be of service to others?

Ephesians 4: 11 – 16 speaks to the importance of each of us maturing and being ready to play our part.
There is one more imperative that is required if 2015 is to be markedly better than 2014.

The requirement is ENGAGEMENT. We need to be engaged.

For many of us, 2014 was a year in which we turned the pages of the calendar. There was no major advance to celebrate. No outstanding achievement. We just moved slowly along with the tide.
Let 2015 be different.

  • Let us commit right now to being actively engaged in projects and activities that have the capacity to effect positive change.
  • Let us strive to be transform our lives in 2015.
  • Let us determine that we will cast our careers in a new and refreshing light.
  • Let us resolve to get a grip on our finances.
  • Let us refuse to be overwhelmed by money worries in 2015.
  • Let 2015 be a year in which we let others feel our presence.
  • Let us be there for family member, church brethren, neighbor or co-worker.
  • Let us make a difference in someone’s life in 2015. Let us be outward looking and value others above ourselves.

Philippians 2: 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

As we C.A.R.E. in 2015, is there a role that you can play in the church?

  • What is it that you can do to help this congregation grow and mature into what God would have us to be?
  • Will you shine your light in areas that you left in the dark in 2014?
  • Is there someone waiting for you to play the role of Phillip to the Eunuch?
  • Will you seek to be more engaging through your Internet/Social Media presence?
  • What about your family life? Is there is a missed opportunity waiting for you to accept the challenge to make a difference?

As you encounter others in the world of work, will you pause to take new meaning from your conversations?

Will you allow yourself to see others as souls who may have a need that you can fill?

Let us all sprout sensitive antennas in 2015. Let us shake off apathy and be fully turned on and engaged.

Ephesians 6: 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

Colossians 3: 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Let 2015…be the year in which we C.A.R.E.

We ensure that we have a strong and secure CONNECTION to God…the Source. We put on Christ in baptism and gain ACCESS to the spiritual blessings that are in Jesus. We accept Christ’s invitation to ask, seek and knock to open doors of opportunity.
In preparation for the outflows from our asking, we work hard on our READINESS. We learn more about God and His work through the ages. We hone our talents and commit to being the very best that we can be.

Finally, we make a difference through our ENGAGEMENT. We make our presence felt and impact the lives of those inside and outside of the church. We touch the lives of family members and co-workers more positively in 2015.
We see souls with potential needs that we can supply.

God bless you!