Partnering For Profit

I’m stubborn.

Sometimes, that’s a good thing. If I’m right and I’m fighting a righteous cause, it’s a very good thing. Nearly every successful person I know has credited at least part of their success to persistence.

If I’m wrong, or what I’m doing isn’t even important, let alone right, stubbornness is a liability.

I once heard a very rich man say “Skeptical and Broke is a bad combination”. He was talking about how thankful he was that he took a risk on something he wasn’t convinced would work. And how now that he was rich, he has turned his skepticism way up.

Just about everything we do is a partnership. We need to recognise what are good partners and what aren’t.

Some people just bring out the best in me. Then there’s the others…

Partnering can be tricky. In business as well as marriage, the right partner can multiply your effectiveness. The wrong partner can block your effectiveness entirely.

And profit is always a partnering thing.

Jesus questioned whether gaining the whole world was profitable at all when the loss was too high – your own soul.

The bible talks about how powerful the word of God is (Hebrews 4:12) but then says it can be rendered completely ineffective by tradition (Matthew 15:6).

Scriptures tell us that faith is the one thing that is absolutely required to please God (Hebrews 11:6), but is not profitable – in fact it is as useless as a corpse – if it isn’t partnered with works (James 2:14-26)

I recently worked in the political sector for the first time. So I studied political books. In Alan Behm’s memoir “No, minister” he quotes the perfect maxim:
“He knew nothing but thought he knew everything; making him perfectly suited for a career in politics”.

Ignorance can be bliss when it is partnered with an insouciant innocence or even a voracious curiosity. But when it is partnered with arrogance it is dangerous at best, and too often completely destructive.

So if you’re mixing it up, how do you find good profit partners?

I look for people that can profit from my knowledge.

I look for situations that can profit from my expertise.

I look for opportunities that will profit from my passion.

I look for projects that will profit from my strengths.

If you do that, you should continually grow in profits.

And it’s just as important to avoid those situations where the losses will be too great. I was reminded again recently how vitally important it is to avoid partners (people, situations, opportunities and projects) that don’t value my knowledge, expertise, passion or strengths. Saying no to those things might make people think that I’m stubborn. And they’re right.

 

Pic Credit: @andrewroblesphoto

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Master of Scale

One of my favourite podcasts is Masters of Scale, where Reid Hoffman (Venture Capitalist and co-founder of Linked In) interviews entrepreneurs about how they scaled.

There’s lots of great lessons every episode, that I won’t try to recreate here – it’s worth a listen.

But it always reminds me what a BIG thinker God is.

No, for all the nations of the world
    are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more
    than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth
    as though it were a grain of sand.
Isaiah 40:15

Just picture that for a minute…. God picking up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand balancing on the tip of his finger….

The truth is the journey for most entrepreneurs involves growing your capacity so that things that used to seem way too big for you to handle, become so easy to handle, it’s like flicking a grain of sand off the end of your finger.

You have to stretch your mindset, exercise your faith, grow your skills, enlarge your ability to deal with finances and much more.

The area that I see first-time entrepreneurs struggle the most is with people skills. Leading a team of people ain’t easy. It just ain’t. But the way you steward people is often the most limiting factor in the scale your business grows to.

Allow your team members to be late, annoying, sick, make mistakes, lacking in talent and disappointing. Because guess what? That’s how you got here, too.

I’m really good at spotting talent. And I’m good at recruiting and developing talent. Mainly because of all the mistakes I’ve made in these areas!

One of the best techniques I’ve learnt, is to look at the other person and repeat in your mind “We need you”. And smile. We are one body. We need each other. Any other mindset is truly a deception.

Often, the reason people seem to be “more trouble than they’re worth” is because they’re not yet in the right spot. An eye is really useful when it’s helping you to see. But if you’re trying to walk on it, it will seem really painful just to be around.

Jesus knew that leaving the 99 to recover the 1 was the only way to ensure His flock would grow into a multi-generational, global flock. We need that cheeky little sheepy baa baa on board. We’re all the better for being together.

So it might be time to do a team audit. Is everyone displaying they’re worth? Are they providing value to others? If they’re not, it’s up to you to unlock their value. How? Usually, by assigning them to a new project, a new team, a new context. How do you choose that new role?

Wait for it. It will shock you. Ask THEM!

And then LISTEN to them. And give them honest appreciation and feedback.

The writer of Hebrews doesn’t say “Don’t neglect the gathering of yourselves together…” He says “Don’t neglect the assembling of yourselves together.” Hebrews 10:25

If you’re the key to growth (and you are), your role is to approach the organisation like an orchestra. You have to make sure all the violinists are sitting together so they’re not poking out the trumpet player’s eye every time they play.

Even if growth isn’t your role, if you are answering phones but you’d rather be blogging or coding a website, help yourself, your organisation, and everyone else around you, by letting them know. There maybe some timing issues, but the sooner you let your team leader know, the sooner you can become a functional part of the assembly.

Success is funny. It’s like putting together a Swiss watch. Your assembly shouldn’t have even one screw loose. You might need to use tiny tweezers and a magnifying glass. Assemble it to be a finely honed machine – not losing a second – “working like clockwork”.

That’s the irony of thinking big. Scale is about being able to handle the whole earth as if it is a tiny, delicate, detailed grain of sand. Getting the details right is what allows you to go global at staggering speed.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the WORLD = BIG thinking….
and make disciples = SMALL doing.

On the first episode of the Masters of Scale podcast, the co-founder and CEO of global growth Godzilla AirBnB, Brian Chesky, summed it up this way “In order to scale you have to do things that don’t scale”.

 

7 Bible Verses for Business Owners

  1. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
    Not everything that has a beginning is great, but everything that is great has a beginning – make sure 2017 is beginning with God.
  2. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
    If things aren’t working for you, it’s probably because they’re not working together. Make sure your systems create synergy.
  3. 1 Samuel 21:8 And David said to Ahimelech, “Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.”
    Speed is often a better weapon than a sword or a spear. Make sure your systems can respond to changing circumstances with haste.
  4. Luke 19:23 ‘Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
    Jesus suggested to even the wicked servant that he should have used systems where profit grows instantly, continuously and effortlessly, like interest at the bank.
  5. Deuteronomy 8:18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
    Simply remembering can create wealth. Make sure your systems include reminders so the important things don’t get forgotten and do create wealth.
  6. Habakkuk 2:2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
    “Write the vision

    And make it plain on tablets,
    That he may run who reads it.”
    Making things plain is powerful – it can turn readers into runners. Ensure your systems bring simplicity, not complexity, so they power up your profits.
  7. Isaiah 48:17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.
    God could have chosen any method of helping us to profit, but He chose to be the teacher; the fastest path to profit is teaching. Make sure your systems include leading others so they know the ideal way to go.

The ideal way to get more bible-based resources to create prosperity for business owners, leaders and managers, is to apply now to start working with Shaz Jones in 2017.

 

Beyonce, Jay-Z, Blue Ivy and Me

12742376_10153370296015924_5515112143764004321_nI was boarding my flight from Sydney last week when I noticed that Beyonce was sitting in first class with Jay-z. Their daughter, Blue Ivy, had the most amazing pink bunny ears on top of her head for Easter, and I really wanted to ask them to have a selfie with me. But I restrained myself because I imagined what it would be like if everyone on the plane asked them that, and how invasive it would be.

But about 3 hours into the 5 hour flight, Beyonce and Blue Ivy came walking down the back of the plane just as I was getting up to go to the toilet (okay I might’ve got up a little bit quicker, when I saw them. Little bit). I crouched down in the aisle and said to Blue Ivy “I love your bunny ears!”. Her eyes lit up and she wrapped her tiny, pudgy arms around her mother’s impossibly long legs and said “someone else likes my ears mommy!”

It was just a tiny kindness. I’ll remember it more than her for sure. But what happened next, blew me away!

I was one of the last people to get off the flight and nearly everyone else had long since left the arrivals gate and hurried off to collect their baggage from the conveyor belts conveniently located about a million miles away, down two flights of stairs. But as I was about to hurry off myself, a stewardess touched my elbow and said “Miss Jones, I was asked to give you this.” It was an envelope with very florid hand writing on it. It said “Miss Bunny Ears”.

I opened the envelope and inside was a letter from Beyonce. She wrote about how homesick Blue Ivy had been during their Australian tour, and how she had had “a total meltdown” at the hotel that very morning because she felt like she was so far from home and had no friends, no-one even noticed her, everyone just wanted to talk to her mummy and daddy. And she just wanted to go home. She was not looking forward to going even further away from home, to Perth.

There was also a drawing, obviously done by Blue Ivy. This kid is no Picasso! But I think it was her with the bunny ears, her mummy and daddy (who were very skinny), and I’m guessing I’m the very fat woman who is crouching down with her huge bottom in the air!

Along with Beyonce’s letter and Ivy Blue’s drawing, was a cheque, signed by Jay-Z (I didn’t know his real name was Shawn Carter until that moment). It was in US Dollars. And it was for one million of those dollars.

Giving up a selfie, and giving a self-less compliment to a little girl, had left me jumping for joy at arrivals gate 23 in Perth airport!

Sometimes not getting what you want is even better than getting what you want.

Okay. Of course, I wasn’t a flight with Beyonce – she has her own private jet! And I didn’t get a million dollars from Jay-Z. I just made it up.

The point is, sometimes life as a witness is better when you make stuff up.

Understand that Jesus didn’t use very much scripture. He mainly used scripture when he was talking to religious people. But when he was talking to everyday people, especially when he was speaking in public, he hardly ever referred to bible writers.

He mainly used lies. Well, not everyone calls them lies. Some people call it pretend or creativity or fiction.

He made stuff up.

There really wasn’t a sower who started sowing on rocky ground – he just made it up.

Do you really believe there was a prodigal son who spent all of his father’s money? No! He just made it up.

As for a good Samaritan, that’s like saying there was a good Osama Bin Laden. He just made it up.

The point is that all of his stories had a point. All of his fiction was designed to tell a truth.

Pablo Picasso, the amazing artist, died in 1973. But his art will never die. And one of his quotes about art is illuminating for all who seek to witness.

“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”

Jesus might never have painted a canvas, but he was very creative in his communication. He often used lies to reveal a truth.

I’m not suggesting you start telling lies about facts. But I am suggesting that you practice storytelling. God is the Creator. Ask for God’s help in creating creative stories.

Hopefully, you’re going to be a witness for the rest of your life. So think about how you will be telling your story in five years’ time. Think about what sort of technology you can use to tell your story now.

I had a young girl look very surprised tonight when I told her I was on snapchat. She said “Oh, I thought that was just the younger generation, like fourteen year olds”.  Let me tell you, this forty-nine year old is already thinking about how I can tell creative stories using mobile and virtual reality technologies that aren’t even available yet!

Practice creating new stories from the everyday world you live in, that will put the spotlight on a truth others might not yet be able to see. If you’re worried about developing the reputation of a liar, I’ve found the morning of April Fools’ Day is a great time to practice.

The above is an excerpt from my new book “Witness” which is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com

 

 

Failure Is The Best Option

pole vaulter

How does a pole vaulter know when he’s reached his full potential?

How does a pole vaulter know when she’s the best in the world?

The only way to tell is to keep going higher until everyone has reached the point of failure. Only then will you know if you have reached your highest potential, and if that is as good or better than everyone else.

Never hire a pole vaulter as a maintenance engineer. Their motto is “If it ain’t broke, keep going until it is!” That’s how they become record-breakers.

Most people will give up long before they fail .. they’ll give up as soon as they feel uncomfortable, as soon as they feel a bit stretched, a bit incompetent, a bit different, a bit tired, a bit broke, a bit persecuted, a bit criticised, a bit rejected …

Winners will keep fighting through everything – way past the point of quitting – and make sure they reach failure.

If you want to be really successful, failure is the best option.

When you are an investor you quickly learn that one success can make up for many, many failures.

When you are a business owner, all of your customers would rather you fail and stick around than have one success and then quit supplying them.

I feel over-qualified to talk about failure. I’ve had marriage failures, financial failures, countless diet failures, health failures, spiritual failures and so on.

And I’ve had my small share of success, too.

If you read the gospels (and I hope you do – you’ll be blessed!), you’ll see one particular person failing over and over and over again.

Then becoming the leader that the Son of God could entrust His bride too.

Jesus trained people for leadership not by asking them to read a blog post or attend a meeting, but by supervising their actual failure. In Training and Development this is called “The Peter Principle”. In Masterchef it’s called “The Pressure Test”.

Imagine you wanted to build a building and someone offered you some new building materials that hadn’t been tested yet. As a responsible builder, you would definitely refuse.

Builders must prove that their buildings meet standards based on points of failure. Extensive load testing is done to ensure that a building can handle:

  1. Dead load – the amount of weight of the building before anyone moves in.
  2. Live load – all the weight that is added when people move in (the weight of the people themselves, especially if it is a stadium, but also aquariums, safes, computers, furniture, bookcases etc.)
  3. Safety Factor – a margin of error or excess. For example, if I tell you your building floor “can safely support 1,000 kgs” and it has a safety factor of 2.0 I won’t expect it to fail until it is supporting 2,000 kgs.

Structural engineers get excited when they hear a building is slated for demolition because before it is demolished they will use it to test extreme loads. If it’s going to be demolished anyway, it’s the perfect place to monitor at what points the tell-tale signs of failure (e.g. stress cracks) occur along the way. So they can save lives in new buildings.

Because Peter had been thoroughly tested, Jesus knew it was safe to build His church on him. He was rock-solid because he’d failed.

When Christ proclaimed him as a rock, it was only minutes later that Peter failed and earned Christ’s rebuke “Get behind me Satan”.

Peter wanted to build a building when He saw Christ transfigured. That was just one of his failures.

When Peter moved out of the boat and started walking on the water, he was already ahead of all of the others who stayed safe in the boat … or was he? I bet he didn’t think so when he was drowning! But he was learning about live loads.

When he followed Jesus on the night He was arrested, Peter had learnt the advantage of a safety factor when he “followed at a distance” (Luke 22:54).

In that same night, he had already failed to stay awake, he failed to pray, and he even failed when he got the sword out in Gethsemane and cut off Malchus’s ear (John 18:10-11).

And all of this was before he failed to even acknowledge knowing Christ, let alone be His witness. Three denials, three more failures, in the same night.

So why did God choose Peter to take the lead on the Day of Pentecost and later open the door to the Gentiles and build the church?

Why didn’t he choose someone with a record of success or at least a clean slate?

Because only Peter had been on the journey God wants to take us all on – way beyond our point of quitting – right up to our point of failure.

There’s something about the point of failure that makes it the ideal lookout point. You can see things, you can’t see anywhere else.

And what was it Jesus wanted Peter to see most clearly?

  • Do you love me?
  • Feed my sheep.

When someone shows they love you, you don’t ask for their resume or their bank balance. All you really care about is are they going to love you past the point where everyone else would quit.

And a starving sheep doesn’t care whether you’ve won Shepherd of the Year award or not. They just want to know if you’re still going to be meeting their needs and keeping them alive past the point when everyone else left so they could have their own needs met.

The real needs in life are only met by people who know how to continually pass through quitting and keep going until they reach the best option for any record-breaking pole vaulter, investor or load-testing engineer – the glorious point of failure.

Environments That Cause Prophets To Thrive

exceptions

Did you know that it is dangerous for humans to enter the storage chambers of apples? It is not a harmful, toxic gas.  Rather, the atmosphere is changed and is devoid of oxygen.

There are some things, seemingly benign, that can change atmospheres in ways that make it impossible for humans to thrive.

I think a major part of the prophetic is changing atmospheres… but not in a harmful way.

‘But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”’ (Mark 6:4).

Jesus said that a prophet can not be separated from honor. The two grow together in the same atmosphere. They are inextricably linked… well almost inextricably.

A prophet can be extricated from honor in just one environment… his own. His own country, his own relatives, his own house – his own environment is toxic to prophetic honour.

When we see a prophet as “one of us”, we sever the honor that they carry on them… even if they are the Son of God!

Just like apple seeds, the prophetic will produce radically different results in different environments.  Jesus told a story of a seed that produced nothing on stony ground and 100 fold on good ground.

A prophet can’t be one of “us”. If she is, she is not honored as a prophet. Familiarity breeds contempt.

To receive a prophet properly, you must receive a prophet differently.

So if a prophet is not one of “us” who is she one of?

Jesus made it clear that the act of receiving is the act that links us all the way up the chain – to God Himself.

“He who receives you

receives Me,

and he who receives Me

receives Him who sent Me.

He who receives a prophet

in the name of a prophet

shall receive a prophet’s reward.” (Matthew 10:40-41)

There is honor and reward when you treat a prophet as a prophet – one sent from God, not one from our backyard.

Often the first thing a prophet will do after she is introduced, is remind people that they are not here to hear from her, but from God. They shift the atmosphere and help people focus their faith in Jesus, not her.

So, if you’re a prophet and you’ve been separated from honor, what is the strategy to be restored?

There’s only one thing you can do.

Leave!

That’s what Jesus did (Mark 6:6).

Go to another place where they will receive you. It will allow you to receive honor, and function in your gifting. And allow those that receive you to receive prophetic rewards.

I don’t know any prophets who are still prophesying in the place they were born. If they were I doubt they would be honoured at all. Like apples, prophets aren’t meant to be stored up in the one place.

Go!

What do you think? Can a change of environment change results both for you and those you are sent to? Leave a comment and let me know – feedback is one of the environments I thrive in 🙂