Under New Management

The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet Commander was relieved yesterday (8/24/17) due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.  On the surface, this appears to be good logic for good cause.  But if you dig deeper, “firing” employees is a cultural norm that does not necessarily address the root of the issue.

Drive around any urban environment and you are bound to see signage that reads, Under New Management.  We are suckers for this verbiage.  We are suckers for anything “new”. We are suckers for a quick fix.


Fans of the NFL (National Football League ) don’t have to look much further to see what a farce this concept is.  Coaches are hired and fired almost as fast as consumers scratch off lottery tickets looking for the solution to all their problems.  New management is (mostly) an illusion.  Who’s to say that this new management is much better than the old? Team owners fail to recognize the fact that players lead locker rooms, not coaches! Coaches may be a catalyst to spark a move in the right direction – but to change or create a culture they need the right players surrounding them…and a little luck.

THE CHALLENGE:  If you tend to blame leaders for failing you, you are on the wrong planet.  If you want the president, queen, king, prince, or dictator to solve all of your problems, you are on the wrong planet.  If you jump the fence because the grass is greener on the other side, you’ll probably land in a big mountain of fecal matter – and you’re still on the wrong planet.  People will always, always, always fall short of your expectations.

I am not trying to undermine the responsibility of leaders.  But a leader who has not yet “arrived” should not be the cause of fury, hate, and discontent.  “Under New Management” is really an old method of managing growing pains – don’t be a sucker! Give people room to grow.  in the meantime, be content.  Be stoic.  Find joy in doing the work that YOU can do. Lead those that YOU can lead. Be present in every moment of YOUR life!

Your Name Again?

Tell me your name for the first time and I will likely forget it.  I’m talking within five seconds.  No, really!  (I’m working on this, I promise.)

I have to share this story.  While traveling for work I boarded an airline.  The attendant assigned to scan boarding passes was extraordinary (we’ll call her “Lakesia” since I forgot the name – see above). Lakesia would look at the boarding pass, then look at the individual and smile. Fairly routine right?  So I thought.

Then out of nowhere, she makes her way down the jetway.  I hear, “Excuse me Mr. Jones, sorry Mr. and Mrs. Griffen, Mr. Donaldson I’m right behind you, coming through Miss Powell, Awww, Jyreese looks so adorable today.”  On and on she went as she made her way to the plane.  She called out the name of every 3rd or 4th person.

I was astonished!  I was not only floored at her ability to connect names and faces in such a brief moment but also to see something so far above and beyond the minimum requirement.  You just don’t see that every day – or to be a bit more accurate, NEVER!


(1) Give exceptional service.  Find a way to stand out, not for your sake, but for the sake of those you serve.

(2) When you come across people who give extraordinary service, thank them. Recognize them.  Write the company.  Talk to a manager.  Tip them.  Let them know you appreciate their diligent effort!  (In the case mentioned above, I failed to do this.  That was was equally extraordinary…but in the realm of failure.)

(3) When someone tells you their name, remember it.

Photo by Melissa Maples

The Most Inconspicuous Time Hack

My kids were just playing with a collection of random coins. An enthusiastic statement was belted out, “Wow, I have one from the 1900s!”

Funny how time works. It is a peculiar thing. My children are so far removed from my era that it feels prehistoric. I, on the other hand, speak about the 90s as if it were only ten years ago.

“We are strangers in time because we belong to eternity.”
-Neal A. Maxwell

When you think of “time hacks” what comes to mind? For me, it’s the idea of selfishness. I visualize a rat race society trying to keep up with the Joneses. I see a people that have unknowingly complicated their lives and need any shortcut available to keep from drowning.

My friend Ben gets credit for sharing with me the most important time hack I have ever learned. It looks like this…

What if
in the world
had a timer
above their head
revealing the amount of life
they had remaining on earth?
What if
they couldn’t see it
or perceive it,
that it could only be identified
and known by others
around them?
-Ben Kellogg

How would this change the world? More importantly, how would this change YOUR world? The ultimate time hack is not about helping you “save or shave” a few minutes, it’s about living peaceably with others because they might be down to their last few minutes.

THE CHALLENGE: Next time you are in line at the store and feel like flipping over the shopping cart in front of you because of another person’s stupidity, pause and consider how your actions or feelings might change if you knew that person had less than one week left to breathe! Remember, the sand in the hourglass does not discriminate or play favorites. You could be next.


Photo by me
Camera: Canon EOS 6D
Lens: Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/50 ZE
f1/4, 1/60, ISO 100, handheld, no flash

Nature’s Sermon

I’m on a pew
front row…this is my norm
I’m 20 minutes early
I can tell my ears will be exposed to a typical “amen”

Time is scheduled to expire in one hour. I review the speaking assignments and make a hasty (but accurate) assessment that the meeting is bound to go longer than scheduled. I tend to tune out speakers who cannot honor the constraints of time. It’s painful, but I’m okay with it. I think of Paul’s words, “not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” I’m middle gray myself, so I suck it up. 1 Corinthians 1:27.

To my left is a door
Glass stretches from top to bottom
The pulpit is to my right but my head gravitates to the left

Outside the door is an old tree. The canopy is breathtaking. Healthy green leaves stretch heavenward while offering refuge to a variety of birds. I observe a butterfly dancing across the scene. A lizard bathes in the sun. Bees are buzzing. This sermon never fails me. I listen to it every Sunday. Nature and all of creation are a perfect model.

I feel a vibration
It’s a text message
“When is the last time you climbed a tree?” Ben
“Feb 11th.” I send a photo to supplement 1,000 words.
I follow up with a question…
“When was the last time you climbed a tree in which you planted?”

I discovered my green thumb about 7 years ago. Putting hands in the soil awakened me to the fact that a part of me had been dead.  The more I garden, the more I’m alive. Difficult to explain, but easy to understand – that is, if you’ve tried it for yourself.

THE CHALLENGE: Plant a tree. Climb it. The time between those two events is where you will hear the greatest sermons!

Photo by Guyon Moree