Dec 312016

Traditionally, New Year’s Day is the time we make resolutions only to rapidly break them. So I’ve long considered them of little value. But there are indeed specific actions we should take.

  1. Reflect on the past year. What went well? What went poorly? What was satisfying? What left you feeling disappointed? What was aligned with your life goals? What wasn’t aligned?
  2. What are your priorities for next year in the areas of health, family, relationships, and career? (In that order – one builds on the other just like a house must be built on a solid foundation.
  3. Identify WHY these are priorities. A strong WHY motivates you to do them.
  4. Turn these priorities into specific actionable goals with deadlines. Goals should be uncomfortable, but not unrealistic. Set only 3-7 goals in each area, since it’s better to achieve fewer than to fail at several more.
  5. WRITE THEM DOWN, and look at them daily! Critical!
  6. Do NOT over-plan. Over-planning is simply a way to rationalize procrastination.
  7. Identify the next step and take it. The next step is always the most important and helps create momentum.

Now work toward them daily and incessantly.     –RG


Jan 092012

A Short Story for Engineers

And you don’t have to be an engineer to appreciate this….Toothpaste

This was sent to me by my dad on 1/6/2012, and it’s not mine. But it illustrates a really terrific point, so I’m sharing it with you. If anyone knows the original author, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside. This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timing so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time.  Small variations in the environment (which can’t be controlled in a cost-effective fashion) mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don’t get upset and buy another product instead.

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem (as their engineering department was already too stretched to take on any extra projects).

The undertaking followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, third-parties selected, and six months (and $8 million) later they had a fantastic solution — on time, on budget, high quality, and everyone in the project was imminently satisfied.  They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should.  The line would stop, and someone would walk over and yank out the defective box, then press another button when done to re-start the line.

A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the ROI of the project: amazing results!  No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. Very few customer complaints, and they were gaining market share.  “That’s some money well spent!” he says, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report.

It turns out the number of defects picked up by the scales was zero after three weeks of production use.  It should’ve been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report. He filed a bug against it, and after some investigation, the engineers come back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren’t picking up any defects because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Puzzled, the CEO travels down to the factory, and walks up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed. A few feet before the scale, there was a $20 desk fan, blowing the empty boxes out of the belt and into a bin.

“Oh, that,” says one of the workers. “One of the guys put it there ’cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang.”

Aug 242010

So many times we hear about those who are concerned with the “Big Issues”, such as poverty, war, global warming, recession, education, and the list goes on. But can you really make a change in the big issues? I think that the answer is unfortunately “no”. These things are too large for the individual to tackle. It’s like a person standing at the base of a mountain and putting up his hand to stop an avalanche. The result is obvious.

But does that mean we cannot solve or impact the larger issues?

Absolutely, we can. We just have to set our sights on the proper targets.

The large is comprised of the little. These small targets are still hard to hit, because our fleshly nature often stands in the way. But I challenge you this day, and from this day forward, to focus on the small things and do them in a Godly and holy fashion.

Help your neighbor. Give a kind word. Buy some groceries for the struggling single mother. Work 10% harder. Think well before you spend. Open the door for a lady or elder. Open the door for a man. Smile. Tell your children you love them. Give special honor to someone, especially your spouse and to those in authority.

If you continually do these things, the habit will reinforce itself over time and you will do it out of your nature rather than through your conscious desire. Once it becomes part of your inner being, it will spill over to all things that you do. Even the big things are affected. And that, my friends is a very encouraging thought.

As an avalanche starts start with a single rolling rock or snowflake, so will you impact the world on a large scale by being honorable and holy in your actions.

(Please don’t confuse holy with being perfect. In this context it implies being dedicated and devoted to the service of God.)

Our thoughts become our actions, our actions become our habits, our habits become our character, and our character determines our destiny. As the Word says, “You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds. Luke 6:43-45 (The Message)”

Let us begin right now to change the world by changing ourselves. Pay attention to those small instances in life and keep them focused on goodness and righteousness. If we do that, you’ll see a miracle take place in the larger things around you. Capture the little foxes that spoil the vines, and we in turn will save our vineyard which is our world.

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15 (King James Version)

Can you imagine the results if we got rid of those little foxes and we all did a thousand things even one degree better? We indeed have the God-given power and the authority to make a tremendous difference.

What will you do now?