• Uncategorized

    Don’t Wear the “Blame & Complain” T-shirt

    Blame and ComplainA while back I was sitting at a coffee shop with a friend and our conversation took us to the subject of people’s unwillingness to take responsibility for their decisions and actions and their tendency to blame others and complain about all their problems. My friend said, as he set down his latte, “If I could buy these people a custom t-shirt, it would say in big bold letters, ‘Blame & Complain.'”

    Now that’s a t-shirt no leader wants to be offered. To blame and to complain are the opposite attitudes and behaviors of people who are making a difference in the lives other others and in the world.

    Instead of blaming others for problems, leaders take responsibility when things don’t go right even when it’s not directly their fault. The legendary college football coach, Bear Bryant, use to say “If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it.” Blame, self-justification, and skirting responsibility takes leaders and their teams nowhere good. It only leads to loss of credibility, respect and broken trust ending in fractured relationships. And all those places create a spiral of poor performance which will never be broken but only exasperated by blaming and complaining.

    As to complaining, leaders don’t waste a New York minute complaining because it doesn’t do one thing to solve problems. A leader’s job is to help their team move forward, to tackle problems and to solve them. This takes hard work, time, energy and focus, all of which get diluted with complaining. As I often tell our team “If it wasn’t for problems and obstacles we face every day, SpringHill wouldn’t need most of us. Our job is to solve, deal and prevent problems so why complain about them; it’s why most of us have jobs.”

    So don’t ever be tempted to wear the “Blame & Complain” t-shirt instead always be quick to put on the “Responsible & Will Solve It” shirt, it’s the one t-shirt leaders are always willing put on.

  • Leadership,  Living as a Leader

    The Uncomplicated Rule

    If you want to lose weight what’s the one best thing you can do? Take the stairs? Eat more grapefruit? Take diet pills? Lift weights? Run farther or eat better?

    The truth is if you really want to lose weight there’s only one thing you can and need to do – eat fewer calories and carbohydrates than you use. As a personal trainer friend of mine once told me “you are what you eat”. Research has continually demonstrated that exercise programs, special diets, and supplements, though marginally helpful in losing a few pounds, will not, by themselves, bring you to your proper weight, only eating the right amount of calories and carbohydrates can you get to you there and stay there (though exercise has other essential health benefits we shouldn’t ignore).

    It’s what I call the “uncomplicated” rule. The uncomplicated rule goes like this. Almost always the simplest, most straight forward and common sense solution to a problem is usually the best one. Why? Because most problems are not as complicated as many people (and companies) want us to believe. Simple problems, like being overweight, require uncomplicated solutions – eat less.

    But why do we believe our problems are so complicated that they require complex and magical solutions? Because people’s problems are opportunities for marketers to offer products and services that solve our problems. But to convince us that need help in solving our problems they need us to believe our problems are too hard or complicated to solve on our own. You see simple, straightforward and uncomplicated problems don’t require complex and costly solutions but instead require simple ones (which don’t sell well and have poor margins).

    So next time you’re faced with a problem or have a goal you want to achieve, look for the simple, straightforward and uncomplicated solution, most likely it’ll be the one that brings you to the place you want to be.

  • Leadership,  Organizational Leadership

    Creative Solutions and Heroic Actions

    The Heros – Teri, Joe, Dan, Rose, Dwayne, Chuck, Eric and Josh (missing – Ryan, Allison, Casto, Matt, Jarred, and Jake)

    What do you do when you’re training 100’s of summer staff and, at the same time, hosting multiple retreat groups, all of which require a lot of meeting space, and you happen to be a camp for kids and not a conference center?

    You get creative, and a little sweaty, and sore, and you convert your game room into a meeting room that accommodates over 200 people. And by convert I mean moving pool and ping ball tables, booth seating, chairs, and tables out of the game room and into other locations, and move in and set into place staging, AV equipment, and appropriate meeting room seating.

    The game room before the conversion. Photo by Rose Peever
    The game room after the conversion.

    And that’s exactly what our Michigan overnight camp team did last week. Why? Because we consider it a privilege to ally with other ministries by providing them an outstanding retreat experiences, so we’ll do whatever we can to accommodate their needs, even if it means thinking and do things we’ve never thought of, or tried before.

    As someone once said “necessity is the mother of all inventions”, and it’s when you’re committed to serving others, including fulfilling your commitments to them, that opportunity often becomes necessity. So, for our team, it was out both necessity and their desire to create outstanding experiences for our guests, which led to their novel solution, and more importantly their willingness to see that solution become a reality.

     So you see, such things as problem solving tools and innovation processes are not enough. Real creativity and problem solving begins and ends with willing hearts and open minds, followed by a commitment to action, even at a personal cost. And how do I know this is true? Because of what our Michigan Site and Retreats team did last week to assure our guests had an outstanding SpringHill Experience.

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