Do This When You Screw Up

I am on the email list of a local restaurant named City Wok. The five or six times I’ve been there have been enjoyable…both the food and the service.

Apparently they had a promotion going on that I completely missed and it was a major FAIL.

Here’s what the owner sent to my email just a few minutes ago:

City Wok Apology

What are some takeaways from this?

1. Total ownership of the mistake. There’s no blame except on his own failure

2. Immediate apology. He didn’t wait a week, or even a few days. This was sent today, and the problem occurred yesterday.

3. Recognition of what went wrong. He explained why they faced the problems they did.

4. Thankfulness for his team. In the customer service business, it’s not the employee that gets the blame…it’s the comany that gets it. He makes sure that while he takes full responsibility for the error, he thanks his team for all they do.

5. His commitment to not make the same mistake again.

6. His invitation to continue supporting their company. This is huge. He doesn’t apologize then close up shop. He apologizes, then requests his patrons to continue supporting the business.

Is this the type of leadership you show for what you are in charge of? I encourage you to follow this incredible example!

I’m Sick And Tired Of This

Terrorist attacks, police officers being killed indiscriminately, African-American men killed for small infractions of the law, and much more. I’m sick and tired of this.

But I’m not going to blame a group. I’m not going to place the blame at the feet of some group on the political left or right. I’m not going to blame the system, whether that system is a government system, or economic system, or any other system.

It’s not that there isn’t potentially some blame in any of those places. But let’s be clear: any system, or any group, is led by people. In the case of government systems, those who lead have many times been voted into their positions by, guess who? People!

And guess what? People are imperfect, broken, incomplete, and sometimes filled with all sorts of evil.

And, if there is someone to specifically blame, it’s the devil himself. And yes, I do believe he exists. He is the enemy of our souls. He is the enemy of all that is right and good. He is the enemy of people. He sows disunity, discord, anger, rage, bitterness, racism, injustice, and much more. He uses every opportunity he gets to ruin our lives.

And yes, I am sick and tired of this.

And you know what else I’m sick and tired of? I’m sick and tired of people ignoring all of this, thinking that as long as my life is good, I have nothing to worry about.

Let me be clear: if your life is good, but the world is going to hell, eventually hell will come knocking on your door. Evil spreads.

There is only one answer to this. The power of GOOD. And the power of good is only possible through the power of GOD.

And here’s why it’s good to be sick and tired. When we are sick and tired of something, it means we are ready for action.

So, what action is required of us? Put simply, we must choose to live our lives beyond ourselves, living for a purpose greater than our own momentary blessing.

If the purpose of our lives is to get our dream job, make good money, have a good family, and live in a nice house, what do we do once we achieve all that? What is your purpose then? All of those things are fine and good, but our purpose calls us to something bigger and greater than those things.

Here’s my question for you: Are you living your life  with eternal purpose?

This world needs the children of God. It is crying out for people who will step in to the difficult spots…to step in with prayer, to step in with action, to step in with words of life.

Will you step out of your blessed life and step in to a spiritual war that is raging in our country and beyond? Now, more than ever, we cannot place our trust in a politician, or a corporation, or a national leader for our salvation. We must place our trust in Christ and Christ alone, then commit ourselves to action.

Will you join me?

 

This Week In The News

Hey my friends!

A lot has been going on this week in the U.S. and around the world. I thought I’d sum up for you some of the biggest things that are going on in the news. There is a lot of information to sort through on the Internet, so sometimes it can seem overwhelming. But, we must make sure to stay engaged with what’s going on around us!

  1. Pastor Perry Noble was fired from Newspring Church – I have heard him speak before. He’s an incredible speaker and an impactful pastor in Anderson, South Carolina. It’s sad to see that he let an addiction get the best of him, but our prayers should be that God restores him and his family.
  2. Terrorist attack in Nice, France – At least 80 have been killed in this senseless attack. France has been dealing with many terrorist attacks recently, but they are not the only ones. This is truly becoming a worldwide problem, affecting many countries. My prayer is that the Lord does a miracle!
  3. Pokemon Go – A new Nintendo app. It’s spreading like wildfire. Millions of people are using it. My son wants in on it! Ahhhhhhhh! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Just read.
  4. A Trump supporter wraps his whole house in a flag – Seriously. This isn’t so much about the politics of it. But it’s true. An entire house. Wrapped in the American flag.
  5. President Obama speaks at a town hall meeting – In a meeting related to the deaths of two African-American men at the hands of police, and the attack in Dallas that killed five police officers, President Obama held a town meeting. There’s a lot I disagree with when I listen to politicians across the political spectrum. I thought he said some good things here, so I included this one. Let’s continue to pray for God’s peace and justice in our nation.

That’s what’s in the news! Enjoy your weekend!

The G.R.O.W. Plan for Journaling Daily

Want an easy way to read the Bible daily?

Reading the Bible daily is an important part of growing as a Christian. Learning more about God, living out what he commands, and learning to love him and others are all important things that happen when we jump into God’s word on a daily basis.

For growth to happen in any area, there needs to be a process. For growth to happen in your life, you need a process as well? And, inside of that process, you need tools to help you accomplish the process.

A few years back I developed a simple tool to help myself (and others) to read the Bible for all it’s worth. I wanted to share that with you today. It’s a super easy way to read the Bible and journal about it. This tool is called G.R.O.W.

Here’s what it stands for:

G = Gratitude
R = Read
O = Observe
W = Wait on God

Here’s what you would write down with each letter:

G = Gratitude – You write one or two sentences of what you’re thankful for.

R = Read – Read your selection of Bible verses, then pick a verse or passage of Scripture that stands out to you. Write down that verse or passage.

O = Observe – Write down some observations about that passage. What’s going on? What is being talked about?

W = Wait on God – Take a moment and pray about the verse that stood out to you. Ask God what he wants you to do about it. Then, write down what action you are going to take.

Here’s an example of a journal entry:

G – Lord, thank you for your life that you have so freely given to me today. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you for another day.

R – Psalms 122:7-9 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.

O – David prayed for Jerusalem, his city, because God’s presence was there in the tabernacle and because he had friends and family there.

W – I need to more consistently pray for my city (Los Angeles), because in my city are (1) family and friends -and- (2) God’s presence in HIS people. Lord, today I commit to more regularly praying for these areas where I live and work, so that your name might be made known among those who live in this city.

Let me know if this helps!

How to Set High Expectations For Those You Lead

Yesterday, I wrote a post about setting high expectations for those you lead. You can read that post here.

But, it’s not enough to simply know that you need to set those high expectations. It’s not as simple as saying to a person, “I expect you to operate at this level”, then leaving them alone and hoping it happens. What we need to define is how to set high expectations for those you lead.

I’d like to accomplish this by a question and answer format. Let’s begin!

How high of an expectation do I set for someone?

We must set expectations according to three factors. First, we must understand where the person’s potential could take them. How far can they go? What are they capable of accomplishing? Second, we must understand where they currently are. And three, we must clearly state expectations in the context of their area of responsibility. Too many expectations can water down what we desire for them to accomplish and to grow in.

A great tool for this is the zone of proximal development. This tool helps us to understand that there are certain things a person can do on their own, there are other things they can only do aided by someone else, then there are things that they cannot do.

If we set expectations in the area of things they cannot do, the person will most likely reject (or be apathetic about) the job. They won’t advance much. If we set expectations in the area of things they can do on their own, then they will do incredibly well at maintaining their level of knowledge, but there will be no growth.

Our job is to continuously push people one step further than where they are currently at. Only in this way do we help peoplpe grow step by step.

Yes, but what if I’ve got a big goal/vision/expectation in mind for the person who’s in charge of a particular area?

Well, don’t let go of it! Remember this, thing big, start small. In some cases you might have a candidate for a job who’s able to see at your level and get on board with you to accomplish the task. If that is the case, more power to you! But, most people are not that way.

In that case, we must take the person step by step with achievable tasks so that they gain the ability to believe they are able to accomplish big things. The goal here is growth and progress over time. A high expectation for a person may not be achieved immediately, but the goal is for it to be attained eventually, on a step by step basis.

How do I determine the type of expectation I set for someone? What should it look like?

Always be sure to keep your expectations in agreement with your organization’s values. Your values are the driving force behind the experience of what your company/church/non-profit is about. If you keep your high expectations in agreement with your values, you will have a cohesiveness in presentation and momentum. This means that everyone on your team will be working together to accomplish great thing, supporting one another in the process.

Other things to consider:

Is the person in the right role that fits their capacity and commitment? When a person is capable but doesn’t have the commitment level to make it happen, there will be problems. On the other side, if someone has the commitment level, but not the capacity, they will most likely never succeed in their role. In either case, we would be setting them up for failure.

Let me be clear: “capacity” does not mean that they are already there. On the contrary! Capacity simply refers to the potential that exists inside of the person to grow into a certain skill set. There are some skills that some people will never learn. It would be a mistake to place them in something that they don’t have a skill set for.

Let’s set high expectations for the organizations we lead!

Are there any other questions you have? Feel free to email me at connect@jefftolle.org or post your question in the comments. Let me know your thoughts!

The Truth of High Expectations

I have been involved in leadership of some form or another for the last twenty years. I’ve learned a lot, and I will continue to learn more. Today, I wanted to share the truth of high expectations.

In all of my leadership roles, I have dealt with leaders who had low expectations and other leaders who had high expectations of those they led.

To be clear: If you lead by low expectations, you will accomplish very little.

So the question is, what is it you want to accomplish? If you desire to do something great, you must lead with high expectations, both for yourself and others.

Why are high expectations so important? Simple.

When you expect a lot out of those you lead, you are communicating that you believe in them.

The lower your expectations, the less you believe in their capacity to produce.

As leaders, it is our job to pull the potential out of those we lead. The only way to do that is to believe in them, expecting more out of them compared to where they are currently at. That is the truth of high expectations.

Now, there are some nuances to how this works out in the context of leadership. I will address some of those tomorrow in a follow-up post. Stay tuned.

I believe in you!

 

This Week In The News: Shootings, Shootings, And More Shootings

The last couple of days I’ve been extremely busy…meetings, email, event preparation. It’s all been a bit crazy.

As I was checking my Facebook news feed I noticed friends of mine posting about some shootings that had happened. I didn’t think much of it at the time, since I was so occupied in my work.

Not until earlier yesterday did I get a chance to actually read about the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the police shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota.

Then, while in the midst of other meetings in the evening, I noticed a news article about the shootings of multiple police officers in Dallas, Texas, which has led to five deaths. As I write this early Friday morning, the police are still in a standoff with one other suspect.

We have no idea if the Dallas police officer shootings are related to the protests in Dallas about the deaths of the two African-American men mentioned above, or if they are related to Islamic terrorism, or if they are some type of homegrown terrorism. I’m sure those answers will come out in due time.

The following are a few thoughts:

  1. We must be willing to empathize with anyone who suffers. Regardless of the evidence and reasons for certain shootings, all who suffer need to experience our empathy and sympathy. I’ve never been personally big into hashtag campaigns like #blacklivesmatter -or- #alllivesmatter -or- #bluelivesmatter (or any others). What I definitely am into is the fact that Jesus suffers when humans suffer. We must suffer along with our brothers and sisters in the human race. This is a week of suffering for all of us.
  2. Evil is real. And no, I’m not trying to call the snipers evil who took out the police officers, or the police officers evil who killed Alton or Philando. There is an evil one, Satan himself, who desires nothing less than the destruction of God’s most valuable creation – humanity. He loves war, hate, disunity, bitterness, racism, and anything else that can come between God’s most favored creation. How do we combat this? With the love of God.
  3. Prayer is powerful. Is prayer our only tool? No! Must justice be served? Absolutely! While prayer does not eliminate the need for human action, human action does not eliminate the need for prayer! Human action can lead to justice. Prayer can lead to changed hearts. While we desire justice, we desire EVEN MORE the changing of people’s hearts. This is done through prayer.
  4. Justice is needed. Remember this: true justice ALWAYS focuses on the victim of the crime, not the perpetrator of the crime. What is just is determined by what the victim deserves. So whether it’s justice for Alton, or Philando, or any of the police officers who lost their lives, they all deserve justice. Will it look the same in every case? I imagine not. Every case is unique with its own circumstances. Regardless, justice must prevail.
  5. Wait for the evidence. It was so interesting to watch on the news tonight (on various channels) as commentators attempted to explain their own beliefs about what happened in Dallas. I guess that’s what they’re paid to do. Regardless, I found it less than helpful. They were proclaiming opinions/judgments before any facts or evidence of the case were known. While we must empathize quickly, we must be slow to judge. Most people do the reverse…they judge quickly and empathize slowly (if even at all). This should not be the case, especially for those of us who call ourselves Christ followers. Let’s empathize quickly, but let’s be slow to judge until we have more evidence.
  6. We need Jesus. You might be a reader of my blog and have no particular faith, or you have a faith that is different than my own. No problem! But, I cannot shy away from the fact that I believe Jesus is the hope of this world and that he is the answer to all that is sick in our society and on our planet. I encourage you to invite Jesus to become real in your life. If you need help with this, send me an email at connect@jefftolle.org.

Those are the main things I’m thinking about right now. Did I catch every possible thought about these occurrences? Absolutely not. If you’ve got more to add, feel free to reply in the comments section.

Peace to you!

 

When You Don’t Know What To Do

Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t know what to do?

Yesterday I had to deal with an extremely frustrating situation. And no, I’m not talking about the fireworks!

While in the middle of the situation, I couldn’t seem to find any peace. I wasn’t sure if it was caused by the situation or the Venti Cold Brew coffee I had just downed from Starbucks. If I had to guess, it was probably a combination of both!

But honestly, I didn’t know what to do. I was sitting there with my work in front of me, but my mind was just a mess of confusing thoughts. I like to make sense of things, so that was a tough place for me to be in.

I decided to read over some verses from the Bible that had stood out to me in the last few days. The following ones hit me like a ton of bricks.

Psalm 135:1-3

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD! Praise him, you who serve the LORD, you who serve in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; celebrate his lovely name with music.

A lot of times, our first response to a difficult situation is to pray. We ask God to give us peace. Or we ask him to give us understanding. All of that is good.  I tried that. But, it didn’t work.

Sometimes we can’t PRAY our way out, but we can PRAISE our way out.

When we choose to honor God in the midst of a difficult situation, it causes a few things to happen:

  1. It shifts our focus away from the situation and places it on God.
  2. It causes us to be grateful, realizing that there is goodness beyond the difficult circumstance we are facing.
  3. It creates space for God to reorder our thinking and our priorities.

Yesterday, in that moment of confusion, I decided to walk outside of the Starbucks and praise God for a bit. I was able to think through the decisions I needed to make and how to move forward.

Have you tried praising God lately?

Be blessed today!


P.S. One of the reasons I was able to get that verse that gave me clear direction was because I have a regular plan of reading the Bible and writing about it. I’ll be posting on this soon. Stay tuned!

 

When You Miss The Fireworks

 

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I was incredibly frustrated yesterday. There I was, thinking what a great day July 4th was, spending it with friends and family, when all of a sudden it all went downhill.

The one thing that everyone looks forward to on July 4th is the fireworks. Well, at least I think everyone looks forward to them.

It was around 9pm, and we were together with family outside, waiting for the fireworks to start. All of a sudden, my wife Evelyn says, “Your child”…well…she didn’t actually say child, she said the child’s name, but I decided to not write their name in order to protect the identity of the accused child.

Let’s start over. She said, “Your child needs to go the bathroom. Do you want me to take them or will you?”

Now, there are two things to note here. First of all, when women give you (men) a choice, it really is only the appearance of a choice. Please learn this lesson, men. You’ll thank me for it later.

But in this case, my wife actually did give me a choice.

So, the second thing to note: I am just an amazing father. Yes I am. And I say that in all humility. Truly I do. You’ll just have to believe me. And amazing as I am, I chose to sacrifice myself for the good of the family in order to take this child of mine to the restroom inside the house.

Once inside the house and the child securely situated in the restroom, I heard a loud bang. Then another one. And another. The fireworks had started! I was anxiously waiting to get back outside to watch the fireworks.

As time kept passing by, I was wondering what was taking so long in the bathroom. You would have thought this child of mine was writing a book in there!

As I was waiting, I was getting more and more frustrated, thinking about how I was going to miss the fireworks all because of a bathroom trip. Couldn’t they have asked to go 10 minutes earlier? What perfect timing!

Eventually, this child of mine made it out of the bathroom, and we went outside to watch the rest of the fireworks. All of my worry and frustration was for nothing. I still saw the majority of the fireworks. It was a great show.

This happens to all of us at some point. We miss something we were ready for. We encounter a situation that is out of our control. We deal with a circumstance that was not caused by us. This happens everywhere…at work, in our families, in life in general.

We have to remind ourselves of this simple truth: Life is never as bad as we think it is.

There is always something to enjoy. There is always something to be thankful for. Don’t ruin the future positive moments by wallowing in present negativity. Your circumstance might be difficult right now, but you will make it through and experience blessing on the other side.

What will you do when you miss the fireworks?

Keep moving!

240 Years

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For 240 years we have experienced this experiment of freedom known as America.

Many people have believed and continue to believe that it has been God who has blessed this nation. I am one of those.

God’s blessings upon this country have been abundant. Does this mean we are a perfect country? By no means! As humans, everything we do will always be imperfect, including the countries we lead. But, as a Christian, I believe in God’s abundant grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. And God’s grace has been upon this country.

I’ve been thinking about our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. The anthem was originally written as a poem by Francis Scott Key, called Defence of Fort McHenry. It was later put to music using The Anacreon in Heaven, written by John Stafford Smith.

That original poem you Key has four verses. The fourth verse says,

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Key wrote the poem in 1814, during the War of 1812. He believed that it was God’s providence that made, preserved, and rescued our nation. His words In God is our trust define how we are called to live as free people and as a country as well.

When we choose to put our hope and trust in God, we are available to experience his blessings and favor upon our lives. May that fourth verse of Key’s poem be a description of our country for 240 years to come!