Change Needs Management

Change Needs Management: (Audio)

Chatting with a friend, Edwin Forkpa, over the past several days, we discussed the challenges any part of the world faces with the concept of change. He comes from Liberia, West Africa, and his country recently went through a Revolution and many were killed and displaced. Life was different during the change and is sufficiently different today than it was 30 years ago. He is my age and his experiences with life are totally different than mine. It has been an interesting conversation!

A major portion of our dialogue revolved around the differences between Revolution and Evolution. Forcing change versus allowing for change to happen over a longer period of time.

This brought me to a thought process about the changes I’ve been a part of in my life when was it forced on me, and how differently did I accept change as it evolved?

How do we make change happen? Or allow for it to occur?
Can new ideas be introduced efficiently?
Can change be sold as something necessary?
Or is it better forced down our throats?
Are we sure it’s beneficial for the greater good?
Do we resist more what we do not understand or agree to?

Add to all of this, “What do you do when no one listens, or cares, about the needs you express?” How do you deal with the changes that fail to come or the changes that overwhelm your life?

Repeatedly we have seen marchers hijack the conversation to present their case, demanding change, shouting down those in opposition and thinking they are right because they have the louder voice. I am resistant to this and will tune off and tune out the shout and the march.

Often, the change sought for is simply a knee-jerk reaction to perceived wrongs or needs. It may be there is some meat on the bone for what must be changed, but getting everyone to the conversation is difficult. If the change sought for has no proven gain or benefit, then no one will win even if the change occurs.

“There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse;
as I have found in traveling in a stagecoach,
that it often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.”
~Washington Irving (Tales of a Traveler – 1824)

Change can be difficult. It can hurt. It can impact your life. You can be forced from your comfort zone into a place of new discomfort. Talk to any of us who have experienced a change in technology.

After a long weekend of migrating our keypunch card data to disk storage in 1978 or so, my manager threw up his hands and declared, “Let’s go back to cards!” “I’ll quit!” in jestful warning…said I…but not really. Cards were on their way out and it was past time to improve our world.

Change can be fearful! Just like staying with floppy disks was never a right move, adding multiple computers to automobiles have made them more efficient – and more difficult to diagnose and repair by the shade tree mechanic. Everything changes and is improved and better than ever before! Right? From cereal to automobiles, to homes! Now we hear of hackers from China reaching into the Tesla vehicles from afar and making their brakes activate without warning… That’s Change!  [Source]

Change can be forced and you have nothing to say about it! Just this morning I read the news that Apple is no longer producing two product lines – Nano and Shuffle. I have an older Nano that makes the trip around the yard, producing music for my ears while I mow. When it quits what will I buy to replace it? My world is shaken. It’s changing. How do I survive?

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” ~Chicken Little

Change can be negative just as easily as it can be positive. We are living in a state of constant change. Not just in one industry, but globally. We have migrated from snail mail to fax, to email, to text… what’s next? I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s coming!

We need to learn how to manage the change as it impacts our personal world. You cannot change everything at one time, nor can you accept constant change in every area. You must choose what is important and necessary and migrate to your destination in a controlled fashion.

You must manage change.

Or change will overrun you! Not just the world around you, it will force you to migrate from your comfort zone, from who you think you are, to what everyone else wants you to be! It’s easy to throw up a wall to stop change, but if you do not learn how to manage change then you will be left behind. Terribly so!

“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!” ~Peter Senge

I know I resist being changed! Who I am is important to me! What I am is important to me, and my areas of responsibilities! Who I choose to become…well, that’s a good thought process. I wonder…how much have I changed from the person I thought I was 40, or 50, years ago?

Before you think I’m rigid and set in stone, I’m a proponent of change that improves our options of living. I have lived through some radical changes of society and my viewpoint on many topics have changed over time. But there is still a core of me that yearns to be consistently the same.

Like the writers of the Old Testament penned the words of God, “For I am the Lord, I do not change.” (Malachai 3:6), and in the New Testament, they spoke of Jesus Christ as “…the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

There is a spiritual and conditional living part of me that wants to remain consistent with scriptural teachings and principles.

I like to stay at the leading edge of technology, just not on the bleeding edge. This does not make me blindly accept every new thing that comes along. I’m willing to let it prove itself before I spend hard earned money and time!

Think with me a moment. If change is happening, what are you doing to infiltrate the events into your life?

We see the migration of automobiles from horseless buggies, to comfortable propulsion devices. The home went from a well you drew sustenance from the hole in the back yard to a water system that delivers consistent pressure to every opening in the house. That brick analog device first called mobile is now a sleek sliver of marvelous electronics that let you connect with the world.

There is much change happening every moment of the day! Managing the changes are important to all of us!




Why Do People Hurt?

Why Do People Hurt? (Audio)

Early this morning, reading the news, some favorite blogs, and some daily Words from Scripture, I had this odd question pop into my mind. Why do people hurt? Why do we need to know the stages of grief? (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) Why do we continue to hold on to our hurts even when we have obviously passed through all the known stages? How do we deal with the source of our hurt? And, by the way, who is the source of the hurt we feel?

Of course, I have no real answers. I can only surmise the dilemma based on my own experiences. As a thinker, I think I have a view that may be the foundation.

It's betrayal. Betrayal is probably one of the hardest "emotions" to overcome. Lie. Cheat. Steal. Stab me in the back. Tell falsehoods. Post the negatives, and gloss over the positives. A huge loss of trust! With a lot of the other hurts, we know we can get even. There's satisfaction found in our reaction to others.

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Hooked on a Feeling

Hooked on a Feeling:

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Remember the song? BJ Thomas, late 60’s and the first song that had an Electric Sitar. Loved to hear him sing it. But sure loved the lyrics. Especially these two lines.

I’m hooked on a feeling
I’m high on believing

I woke this morning with the words being “hooked” on something flowing through my mind. Either it had something to do with wanting more sleep than I was getting (restless night), or there had been an unremembered dream floating through my subconscious. Whatever the reason, I thought about those things we get hooked or addicted to. This is a horrible thought because the only thing I’m sure I’m addicted to is chocolate!

Well. That’s not the only thing! Let’s add: Coffee. Dr. Pepper. Iced Tea. Shrimp. Chicken Fried Steak. Field peas. Trucks. Tractor. Peace. Quiet. Solitude. My bible. Good book. Two-sided conversations. Road trips and long quiet drives. Good music that doesn’t overwhelm the senses. And my bride!

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What’s On Your Radar?

What’s On Your Radar? (Click for Audio version)

I suspect that we all have things on our radar that are out of sight of everyone else around us. You know what I’m talking about. Our Goals. Objectives. Focuses. Likes. Dis-likes. Things we love, and things we hate. Even far off future things that are beyond the curve of our active perspective and vision.

What’s Radar?

Radar is a rather recent invention. It came to be an important tool during WWII… 1940-45. Yes… It’s one of the great technologies that came into being before I was born! Now, I’m not sure what other countries may call it, but it is an acronym and comes from: “RA(dio) D(etecting) A(nd) R(anging)”… Does it actually use Radio signals? I’m not sure how it works, but I do know there are powerful machines out there that can see much farther than I can detect. And with each generation, they are getting more powerful!

My dad worked with Radar during the early 1950’s and was stationed in Germany for a while at a Radar Station. In my mind’s eye (another sensor!) it’s like seeing through and past things to give fair warning of hidden dangers.

Today, we are so used to Weather Radar showing us what’s out of view and helping us to decide how we need to respond to changing conditions. That’s a blessing!

Or how about this one!

“Mom’s know!” is a favored response to kids question, “How did you know?” Women’s intuition is what I’ve always heard it called. It’s almost like they have eyes in the back of their head, or little voices whispering all the secrets of what their children are doing! Regardless, my bride is important to me and I’ve learned to listen closely to her insight.

Remember bats? You know, those flying creatures of the night who sleep upside down all day long? They have a similar ability to radar, only we liken it to Sonar. “SO(und) N(avigation) A(nd) R(anging)”  Like submarines, they navigate by sound, and steer based on the response of the signal they emit. Echolocation is another word for it. Even those creatures that are “blind as a bat” seldom fly into anything and are able to hunt bugs all night long using echolocation.

What’s my thought this morning? There are too many to number, but let me share with you two major points.

First. Were you to blindly walk through life without some sensor keeping you informed of what’s possibly around the corner, or over the next hill, or through the valley you’re facing, then I wonder how any sane person makes it through life! Every challenge faced could be a heart-stopping shout of “Surprise!” and either you would fight, or flee, or flop over dead from the constant barrage “what’s next?”.

My bride and I are always completing the thought of the other or stating something that the other was thinking about. It’s like we are in tune with the mind and will power of the other. We are closely in tune, and through the years we have been connected, then no longer does “surprise” happen without one or the other being somewhat aware of “what’s next?”.

Along the same line, I’ve learned to be spiritually aware of what’s happening around me. It’s not something supernatural or spooky! Rather, it’s the Holy Spirit that is there to lead and guide me into all things. Jesus describes it like this:

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:13 NKJV)

When the fledgling disciple Philip shared the news of the Messiah to Nathanael, the response was, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” When he met Jesus, he was hailed as “an Israelite in whom is no deceit”. “How do You know me?” Jesus said, “I saw you when you were sitting under the fig tree” which is where Philip shared the news with him! (John 1:43-51)

Toward the ending of His ministry, Jesus began questioning his disciples. “Who am I?” Who does the world say I am? They gave him various standard answers, but finally, Peter blurted out the truth, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” What was the response of Jesus? “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” It was not a whispered answer from any man. It was the internal revelation directly from God. (Matthew 16:13-20)

In the middle of his despair, it was Job who declared, “Does He not see my ways, And count all my steps?” (Job 31:4) To which, David utters, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And he delights in his way.” (Psalms 37:23) Along with many other references, the Psalmist understood that his personal steps were ordained by God and He was never surprised by what was just around the corner of our life.

Here’s my second thought. God already knows. Everything. And with him in the driver’s seat of my life, how I respond to challenges should indicate my faith and trust in Him. It’s difficult at times, but I’ve learned to sort of “go with the flow” and not feel so fretful about my faulty radar system!

How about you? What was the poorest way you responded to the challenge you did not see coming? What was the best? Did you learn from the poor and start responding better? That’s the lesson!

Mornings or Evenings Speaks A Lot About You

Mornings or Evenings Speaks A Lot About You:

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Morning Glow

I’m a morning person. Not as early of a riser as I once was, but when I do get up I’m ready to do. To go. To be. Whether that’s devotions, reading, studying, or going somewhere, even work! Get up early and get after it!

In my early days of online school, I could get a lot accomplished between 5-7 a.m. and still feel refreshed to face the day. I have never been good at the end of the day after long hours spent doing. That’s my down time. Rest and Relaxation. And lot’s of Recovery.

This is not to say I cannot be my best in only one zone and not the other. When something requires my best then I am determined to give it my best. That takes a lot of concentration when the day is winding down, and very little when the day is starting.

Some recent articles describe our Peak time as when we get the most accomplished, when we understand what our Circadian rhythm does for us. What’s a Circadian rhythm? No. It’s not a music group. It’s that concept of being at rest, knowing when rest starts, and ends, and what our body does with the rhythm. Regardless of a morning or evening person, these rhythms drive the fluctuation of our physiological processes that include things like how alert we are, heart rate and even body temperature. Some studies even suggests it affects our intellectual functioning also.

For me, and I come back to this time and again, I would just as soon get up early and get my day started with whatever routine I choose, than lounge around late at night pushing sleep time from p.m. to the a.m. The morning is the quietest time in our household, and has always been the quietest time when you get up before everyone else!

What’s optimal for you? Even more studies suggest that our best performances come at the the optimal time when we can give a task our best attention. I know this is when I have fewer distractions, or, at least I do not notice them.

Here’s my thought. What do you need to do to get the best performance for the most important task of your life? If you know your circadian rhythm then you are at least on the cusp of understanding whether you should be focusing on important things at one zone of the day versus the other. If I need to read something important, then the morning is my best time. Immediately following my waking up routine, of course. If I need to have some deep relaxation time, then that’s what my evenings are for and most of my reading is casual.

But think about all the important things that must be left to the end of our busy schedule.

When do you find the best times to have quiet time with God? 

Repeatedly, we see Jesus leaving the others and going off to a quiet place to pray. He spent his days “working the crowds”, you know, teaching, healing and touching the important part of his life. But we also find that his apparent recuperative times were spent alone, and in the evening, away from everyone. Even his called disciples…

Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. (Matthew 14:22-23 NKJV)

Notice. He sends everyone away, and retreats to the mountain. Alone time. Prayer time.

Olive Tree in Gethsemane
Olive Tree in Gethsemane

It seems that before every big decision, or personal challenge, he was away from others to find a place and time of prayer. It was in Gethsemane that he prayed late at night before his arrest. (Matthew 26:36) It was an all night time of prayer before he named his disciples and apostles. (Luke 6:12-13) He has a place and rhythm of prayer that was known by his disciples. (Luke 22:39-41).

Perhaps what is more important about our life than knowing our peak performance, we should have a place and time that is more common to us for prayer. Alone time. No distractions. A place of quiet. Seclusion.

How about you? Where’s your prayer place? And what is your prayer time?

Sometimes The Right Direction Is Behind You

Sometimes The Right Direction Is Behind You:

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Have you ever listened closely to the flight attendant’s cabin instruction as you prepare to launch into the wild blue yonder? Too often we politely ignore their routine. But on the times I do pay attention I take special notice of the next phrase:

“Please take a few moments now to locate your nearest exit.
In some cases, your nearest exit may be behind you.”

Notice it? Sometimes your nearest exit may be behind you. In other words, sometimes, in order to go the correct direction you must go the opposite way you are facing. Especially if it is an emergency! You must know where you are in light of where the nearest exit is in order to safely evacuate the plane.

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Strategy Thinking

Strategy Thinking:

(Click for Audio) If you want to achieve something, anything, you probably have a goal in mind. You know what it looks like to accomplish the goal. Right? Probably.

Imagine you have a goal of winning a specific job, or buying a house, or achieving financial success. Got it pictured? Looks pretty good doesn’t it!

Okay…. How do you get there?

We develop plans, but we all know the “…best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Perhaps before we enact a “plan” we should develop a strategy.

What is your strategy to win the goal? It may include multiple steps along the way, with smaller plans to accomplish each step. It may be like a puzzle you build with others helping you to achieve each micro-step. Possibly, it even includes the idea that you spend a certain amount of time preparing for a step, and then the step gets taken quickly.

It all depends on your goal. Perhaps even your vision and mission in life should be analyzed before you strategize. After all, why buy a house to live in if your plans are to be a gypsy living on the road?

We need to learn to strategize, and we often learn it through experience, both good and bad.

When I moved to Alaska in 1980, some guys on the job asked me to play a lunch time game called Diplomacy – a WWI strategy game where you learned how to build, foster and destroy relationships, while attempting to win all of Europe. [Read my experience here] I was a horrible failure. These new co-workers took advantage of the new kid on the block. I never played with them again, and they had to earn my trust every time we met for business! Just kidding.

Through the years I’ve worked on large projects, in large and small companies, and it seemed like we all had the idea of developing a strategy to reach success. A road map is a good analogy where you start from a beginning point, aim at the destination, and then follow the instructions to move along the route.

But we all understand there are many paths to get from Point A to Point B. That’s the good thing about strategies. They are not the plans we use to move along the route, rather, they are the overarching thoughts on how we move along the route, what we do when we hit a roadblock, do we take extra supplies or buy them along the way, how much will it cost and where does the money come from, how many people will we need or be responsible for, will we cross boundaries that require special licensing or permits, what type of vehicle is best suited for the journey…. You get the idea. That’s strategy.

A few weeks ago I touched on this in another blog post I called “The System of Options” when modern warfare changed from a commander being in direct line of sight for each battle, and instead sent out a global strategy (option) and put the pieces into play to bring about success. Each piece knew the strategy and operated independently to obtain the objective. It was these strategies that were developed in the 1800’s that played a large part in how war was conducted in the 1900’s. Hence, the Diplomacy game previously mentioned.

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~George Santayana [Source]

Perhaps, then, a good Strategy in life is to learn from the mistakes of our past so that they are not duplicated in our future! On project work we often had a Lessons Learned meeting and subsequent documentation that helped us know what went good, what went bad, and what should we learn from the lessons.

In the Old Testament, we read of a nation that seemed to ride the roller coaster of life. Up and down, up and down. One generation, they are up and following God like they were intended to do, and then something would happen, a new thinker or leader would come along, and suddenly they are plummeting to the bottom where they are least like the God they served and loved just a generation ago.

Sort of sounds like something in modern times.

But we find an example of the son of one of these leaders going into the valley who steps into the leadership cycle and has authority to enact change. He’s not willing to do things the way his father had done. His goal is to cycle the roller coaster back up the hill to get closer to God.

Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done. (2 Chronicles 29:1-2 NKJV)

Now. David was not his immediate predecessor. David was several generations back, but he was the one that was most like God’s heart (Acts 13:22). Was David perfect? No. None are perfect, even though there are times we are walking perfect. For a season. Listen to the mind and words of David has he defines his strategy:

God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect.  (2 Samuel 22:33 NKJV)

In the way he walked, talked and lived, David understood that his strength was not in his own ability. Rather, it was in God’s way. When he challenged Goliath to battle he notes that it was not within his own ability to secure the win, but rather that the enemy had challenged his God. Again, his strategy was not in his own ability.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.”  (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NKJV)

Strategy. Not of his own ability, but of God’s will.

Go back to Hezekiah for a moment. This was the imagery he had when he noted that David was his image of kingship that he wanted to follow. For the remainder of this chapter you will find how Hezekiah, though young, commanded a change to the leaders and people of his country and moved them back up the hill. His strategy was to cleanse and sanctify their hearts and hearths, work and church, home and play, and rekindle that relationship that went missing under his father’s leadership.

But note that the change happened quickly. His strategy to turn the nation went fast.

Also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings and with the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the LORD was set in order. Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people, since the events took place so suddenly. (2 Chronicles 29:35-36 NKJV)

Sometimes, our strategies, plans, objectives and goals seem like they will eventually get us to a particular point. We may be happy with thinking retirement in some far off future place and time, but the strategy to prepare for it must be started young, consistently followed, and someday enjoyed. It’s a long road to retirement… Except, we must remember to keep God in the picture. With Him, things can happen suddenly!