Priceless Advice to Profit

One of the best things you can do to profit, is to step away from your business.

I heard a preacher last month say “I love those big red double-decker buses they have in London. I took a photo of one for you!”

Up on a giant screen flashed a completely red screen. And he said “Sometimes you’re too close to see what is right in front of you!”

So, getting some distance is often the first step to getting wisdom.

Have you ever met someone who only ever sees problems (even when everyone else is awestruck by a miracle)? They think they’re so clever they want to put floaties on Jesus because they think they alone understand the difficulties that Jesus just can’t see.

Even if you’re not surrounded by problems or problem people, take some time out from listening to your own thoughts and from seeing what is up close. Listen to the advice of others who have already beaten their own path to profit.

Often, they’ll tell you how profit is the worst place to start (but a great place to end).

One of the unique things about entrepreneurs, unlike other business owners, is that they are usually creating something brand new. So there’s not necessarily going to be technical advice of how to solve your specific problems.

But there are clues left by other entrepreneurs about what might be even more important – people like Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs.

The point is, there’s always help. This video helped me – I trust you are at least inspired to pursue your own pathways to profit. And hopefully also learn something that you can put into action today to help you see a double-decker busload of profit heading your way!

 

Why do Shepherds shepherd?

Sheep need a shepherd – that’s a no brainer in marketplace terms. But Shepherds surely have lots of other choices, especially these days; brand ambassador, social media manager, youtube star – all just as soul-enhancing as shepherding, right?

So why do reasonably sane people with lots of other choices become shepherds?

Now, if you’re a pastor, forgive me, but you’re probably way off track, already.

You see, pastors don’t seem to even hear the word shepherd when you say shepherd, they hear “pastor”. They start thinking about God’s calling, commissioning, anointing.

They think about people.

But, just try for a moment, to think like a real proper shepherd. King David wasn’t pastoring people, he was shepherding sheep.

Why?

Okay, yeah, his dad probably made him. But then why did Jesse choose that?

Real life shepherds, look at you weird if you ask them that question.

They look at you the same way my niece looks at me when I ask her why she hasn’t got her PJs on and brushed her teeth ready for bed even though I’ve asked her three times already.

Like, it’s a dumb question.

Like, I should know the answer.

Profits.

VALUE – MONEY – INCOME – PROFIT – Marketplace.

Is this why Jesus chose marketplace disciples??
Because they would NOT think like pastors?

Maybe the reason Jesus and all of his disciples were the best people to grow the church were because they thought like business people not church people.

Maybe Jesus wanted His church to be… wait for it, pastors, brace yourself… profitable!

Now – you’re going to be shocked because I won’t think like you think.

You’ll probably even think I’m way off.

I’m wrong …

But ask yourself – seriously.

Am I perverting the way God made things?
or am I just saying it the way God made it?

Because if I’m perverting or twisting God’s ways then you can call me demonic…

But if I’m just pointing out God’s ways to you, you have to at least listen to what I say, right?

Even if you don’t like it.

It’s going to HELP you.

When King David wrote about God, he wrote about a Shepherd who provided ALL the needs of his flock (Psalm 23). That Shepherd needed to be pretty well resourced, right?

This Shepherd didn’t just let us hear his voice on Sundays, but he got in the kitchen and laid on a feast for us (even when our enemies were in our face), who was with us during our worst times, and who made sure our cup was overflowing.

Shepherds were the ones who got the call from the angels at the birth of Christ (Luke 2)

More than one.

OUT at night … living where the sheep lived.

24/7 shepherding.

They weren’t namby pamby “Sunday is like a work day for me” pastors.

They were doing the long hours, the midnight shift.
Why? Because sheep herds need more protection during the night than during the day.
How many night shift pastors do you know?

I don’t mean the occasional late night phone call.
I mean spending EVERY NIGHT with your flock? You know, like small business marketplace people usually do.

Most pastors I know are working way too hard and simultaneously not hard enough. They’re working too hard at shepherdy things and not nearly hard enough at helping sheep get their sheepy things done. Some are so out of touch with sheepy things they barely know what functioning like a sheep looks like anymore.

Is this why Paul continued in the marketplace?
To protect against church-think?

How do you do it?

Add value to sheep.

Forget “hear my voice” – they’ve been doing that.
And it hasn’t helped you or them that much – really, has it??
Well, has it?

Give ’em good pastures, an environment with:
– good location
– rotation

Get ’em breeding – duplicating themself – that’s the number 1 skill a profitable shepherd ensures his sheep maintain. Lambing season is the highlight – and it’s not just because lambs are cuter than most sheepy baa baas. A good shepherd will intervene in all sorts of unnatural ways to get sheep doing what should come naturally!

Take your sheep to market, let them see demand and supply in action, up close and personal.

Even if they’re not producing lambs for you, at least fleece them!

Hello, pastor? Remember, how I said to stop thinking like a pastor…

Yes, I am seriously suggesting you fleece your flock. That’s what they’re there for.

Shepherds know that when they take value from the sheep, they are actually giving value to the sheep. Did you ever hear about Shrek, the kiwi sheep that got lost for 6 years. His fleece was so heavy it could have caused chronic issues:

  • The weight was so heavy he could barely get up
  • The wool covered much of his eyes, he could barely see
  • The thick coat could’ve caused heat stress

Shrek continued growing on his own, but no-one benefited from it until his Shepherd found him. Shrek was growing, but worse off. There were no woolly jumpers for customers those 6 winters – the marketplace was worse off, and no payday either – the shepherd was worse off.

You see, when you take value from sheep, you do three things:
1. take burdens from them, and

2. bring provision to yourself, and

3. bring value to the marketplace.

All marketplace people know that customers have two choices when dealing with your business.

They can either keep their problem, or keep their money.

They can stay hungry, or buy food from you.

They can stay bored, or buy a movie ticket from you.

They can get frustrated trying to write a blog piece that sells, or get you to write for them (call me ;-).

Taking their money helps them function better. They get better results. They literally feel better about themselves. And they start to grow anew.

I’m not talking about gouging them for your own selfish benefit. I’m not talking about short-term opportunists here. I’m talking about the natural way, the way things are, and always have been, designed to work. I’m talking about a fair, mutual, exchange of value here.

 

Good shepherds help protect their value. They invest in sheep dip. They weed out the thistles in the paddock and fertilise the clover and alfalfa.

And they fence sheep in. Jesus called it a door (John 10:7).

Sheep without a shepherd, or sheep with a shepherd that is just a hireling, are like sheep with a wolf.

Scattered.

That’s the kind of future we don’t want for our flocks (yes, I’ve started talking about people, now).

Scattered – distracted. Shepherds remind us of what is important, they focus us. They intervene when we are going astray.

Scattered – disparate. Shepherds fence us off from disunity, and directionless wanderings. They unify us. They show us the quickest path to provision.

Scattered – unproductive. Shepherds make us work together, so we, well, work. We reproduce another generation. We know how to grow a fleece – on a timetable. Our milk flows (mmm goat’s cheese). Eventually, our Shepherd might even chuck us on the barbeque on Australia Day!

Sadly, many pastors are scattered, too. My hope and purpose for this blog post is that it helps us all start fleecing and focusing and stop scattering.

Marketplace shepherds need to know these skills, too.

We all need to be reminded of Jesus’ words to Peter.
Do you love me?
Feed my sheep.

Feed them real sheep food; help them focus on growing profits, regularly, so that yielding their annual profits to you is not only a natural part of life for them, it’s a real weight off their shoulders.

Otherwise, you’re just leaving them useless and helpless, like youtube stars to the slaughter.

 

Managing Time To Profit

Time Management

Today is the last day of the Summer season in Australia. And it’s also the last day of a season of more than ten years of my life … so it’s got me thinking about times and seasons.

When God the Son talks to God the Father we get to listen in on how the divine leaders of the universe think and what issues concern them. In John 17:1 we see Jesus beginning the conversation with “Father, the hour has come….”. Timing is so important!

Time is mentioned throughout the Scripture. Indeed, the first thing God communicates is an answer to the question “When?” … In the beginning. If you read Scripture with the question “When?” in mind, you might be surprised just how often the management of time is an issue addressed by the biblical writers.

I’ve been reminded recently of two of the most productive ways of handling your time and tasks so that you’re not squandering your profits – whether you use online profit systems or good old fashioned ones.

1. Avoid To Do Lists

I was recently put on the spot, in front of a group of people, to organise a group outing. Whilst, I would have preferred to be asked in private so I could either accept or decline without embarrassing myself or my leader, I accepted. And completed the task, in front of the group, within just one minute.

This reminded me that if you are tasked with something that isn’t on your To Do List and you can take action straight away, do it now (so it never makes it on to your list). You’re more likely to procrastinate if it is someone else’s idea and you don’t “own” it. People often spend a lot of time managing their To Do List (e.g. transferring a simple item over many days or even weeks), rather than doing their To Do List. You’ll save all of that time, and mental stress, if you avoid putting it on your To Do List and just do it now!

Also, if someone gives you their task (who you think really had the time and resources to do it themselves), doing it while they’re still with you, lets them see how quick and easy it is, too – which might inspire them to do it themselves rather than delegate next time. Hopefully, that will help keep it off your To Do List forever.

#ExecuteQuickly

2. Make Plans Once

Having organised the event, at their request, with the input and agreement of everyone in the group, within a minute, a week later the leader then changed the plans.

If you’ve made a plan with someone, let alone a whole group of people, rescheduling is a nightmare. Firstly, even if there are no other impacts, you are adding the extra time to communicate the new details. People are often tightly scheduled these days, and moving your agreed time can mean every other thing in their day needs to be adjusted. Whilst changing details of date, time or venue, may possibly be marginally better for you, the ripple effect for multiple other people can waste literally countless hours of time and profits – and create stress for multiple people.

When leaders say “Follow me” and change course midway, it weakens the ability of participants to trust them next time they want followers to agree to their schedule items (especially if leaders don’t clearly communicate what the benefits of the change were). And it shows a lack of respect for the time of others.

Whilst it only took me another minute to call the venue and cancel the booking, I hate doing it. As a small business owner myself, I know that everything from staffing to cashflow planning can change with a cancelled booking. And, frankly, I don’t need the reputation of being someone whose word is fickle and cannot be relied on.

Think very, very carefully before you are tempted to reschedule.

#RescheduleRarely

Following these two simple time management tips will help you profit not just today, but they will set you up with personal habits and a reputation for being someone who can deliver, everyday.

Leave a comment and let me know what time management insights you have found in Scripture or in practice.

Attention please…

I was 12. In my first year of high school. Learning new subjects, compulsory subjects that I had no interest in.

The first word I learned in German was “Achtung”.

My teacher was very fond of saying it.

I’d heard it in the war movies my dad was fond of, too.

Little did I know how important “attention”, in any language, would become in my life.

Today’s economy, including vast tech profits from blogging and social media, is predicated on this oh so powerful concept.

If people aren’t paying attention to you, they won’t be paying money to you, or anything else, either.

Like him or loathe him, Donald Trump, is brilliant at getting attention. In television, real estate and presidential campaigns, the ability to garner attention is one of the key drivers of success. And, as Donald has discovered more recently, attention is a double-edged sword that can just as easily bring failure.

Whilst you’re reading this you’re probably not paying attention to the temperature your skin is feeling, how hungry your stomach is, the smell of your body odour, the taste of the saliva in your mouth, the way your face is resting, the sounds surrounding you and a thousand other things. The Reticular Activating System in your brain has filtered them out so you can focus your attention on learning (great decision by the way! ;-).

Have you ever had the experience where you’ve bought a new car or new dress and then suddenly you see it appearing everywhere? It’s not because they weren’t there before. It’s just that now you’ve started paying attention, you can see what has always been there. It’s the job of the brain to *not* notice most things. You are receiving information on things all the time – and 99.9% of things are filtered out from your attention automatically by the brain.

In the bible, the word “attention” is used more in Proverbs than in any other book. The writer of Proverbs was the wisest man in all the world. He urges us to pay attention to wisdom, understanding, words of instruction.

King Solomon also warns kings that when the leader is paying attention to lies it can multiply results and transform all of his team into “wicked” servants. Be very careful about placing the full force of your organisation on something that no-one should be paying attention to.

Where you place your attention  is a fundamental tenet of wisdom. If you use your attention wisely, strategically, it can radically transform your results.

I’m amazed what most people *think* is their biggest problem. It might be their weight, their debt, their back pain, their partner. But really, the source of most of these problems, is that they are paying attention to the wrong things. Even the fact that they think these problems are their biggest problem is, more often than not, the cause as well as the symptom of their real problems. And usually it is also blocking them from seeing the solutions they need.

Political campaigners know that there are all kinds of things we can give attention to; sex, sports, stocks, soap operas… We can get all caught up in gossip, criticism, fear… and politics.

Or we can give our attention to faith, opportunities, success, profits, the best in people, things we can be thankful for, tolerance, patience, amazing grace, love.

Every day, every second really, you have a fresh opportunity to choose where to place your attention. Do it strategically, and you’ll find that one act alone will transform your results.

If I haven’t said it to you before, thank you for reading. I appreciate your attention.

 

Why Vision-casting is so Powerful and Productive

Robert Redford, Steve Jobs, David Cameron… all the best leaders spend at least some of their time casting vision.

But why? What is it about vision-casting that is so productive for already powerful, global leaders?

vision

Well, firstly, vision effects outcome. And sometimes the stakes can be really high. Consider Britain’s decision this week on whether to remain or leave the European Economic Union.

The future of an entire nation changed in one day. Powerful!

On the other side of the world, Australian shares lost $50 billion of value in shock.

The question of whether to stay or “Brexit” was quintessentially a question of vision. What kind of future did the people of Britain want? A future based on the possibilities of partnership with their powerful neighbours in Europe, or the freedom and control of a self-reliant future.

To cast their competing visions, leaders travelled the length and breadth of the country, several times over, to meet with people personally. Yes, there were brochures, and media appearances and social media campaigns, but the majority of time spent by the leaders was spent in front of a voter’s face.

At first glance, especially from a time-management point of view, this might seem like an incredibly unproductive thing to do. Why shake one person’s hand, when you could tweet to twenty million during that same time? Why address a small community meeting of eighty entrepreneurs in a tiny village when you could instead be interviewed on BBC broadcasting to eight million viewers?

Even Donald Trump, who doesn’t like shaking hands with anyone, and will (*probably) tell you himself “I’ve made a lot of money in media, I’m very good on television. I translate very well on Twitter”, has spent months out on the road criss-crossing America with personal appearances.

It’s all about the Proximity of Presence. There’s something about being in the presence of the vision-holder that doesn’t quite transcend into traditional and social media. Blogs and those other channels are great supplements, reminders and reinforcements, but for truly productive vision-casting think Michelle Pfeifer and Robert Redford – try and get all Up Close and Personal. (Yes, I realise the irony of quoting a non-personal appearance to encourage personal appearances 😉

Okay, so we’ve answered why vision-casting is necessary (the stakes are high), we’ve answered how to do it (up close and personal). But why does it work so effectively?

Here’s how Steve Jobs answered that question:

vision
If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. #quote Steve Jobs

Ephron W. Taylor said it  this way. “Define the vision (this is the seed of self-leadership)”.

Leaders multiply into more leaders through vision-casting. Leaders help you lead yourself, and ultimately lead others, by planting and nourishing vision.

If a leader can plant the seed of vision in you, she doesn’t have to spend mountains of energy or time to motivate you towards success, that seed will grow generations of motivation in you, from the inside out. You’ll probably even start dropping seeds in your own network of contacts.

Vision is the ultimate leverage. You’ll achieve much more, with much less, if you cast vision seeds that grow into their own orchards of vision in others. And it’s massively scaleable – vision can multiply rapidly.

So next time you are talking with someone you want to work with, think of the weird old Christmas Carol lyric:

Do you see what I see?” (it also talks about lambs, talking wind, and stars with tails who have apparently gone out for a disco – probably best NOT to think about those things if you want your vision to sound credible 😉

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
do you see what I see
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
do you see what I see
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

The vision locomotive just pulled an entire nation into massive change in one day – such massive and quantifiable change it had billions of dollars of economic impacts in the hip pockets of investors on the other side of the world. And that’s just day one of the changes.

 

If you want your work to produce such powerful and productive effects, lead with your hand. Get off the computer for a change and go and shake someone’s hand. Because if we can learn anything from sexy Robert Redford, it’s that even the most visionary leaders look better up close and personal.

 

Growing 120x in 12 weeks

Multiplying is something I love. I think, actually, that’s what is at the core of my fascination with technology.

My current project involves working with an organisation that grows from about 800 people to 97,000 people in just 12 weeks.That’s a pretty rapid and radical multiplication!

Growing an organisation by more than one hundred times in less than three months is a strange mix of excitement, frustration and chaos.

Oh and did I mention that even though we are increasing the people by 12,000% we’re only increasing the budget by 50%?

Systems that are designed to serve 800 people don’t work well when you suddenly try to make them serve 97,000 people.

But if I could only change one thing in this whole organisation to make the best outcome for the least effort, I wouldn’t change the budget, I’d change just this …

Q U E E N C E S

I made a video about this 7 years ago …

  • how queences can help you do impossible things
  • how queences can bring order into chaos
  • how queences can explain why two people doing the same things with the same resources can have radically different results

 

 

 

Global Networking

My focusing phrase for 2016 is “Expand and Advance”.

I’m planning to expand and advance in many areas this year.

One of those areas is to expand my global network.

I’m looking primarily for Christian business people in Australia, as well as all different parts of the world.

I’m also looking for people who have nothing at all in common with me. People who will challenge, critique, educate, inspire and stretch me.

So if you’d like to join my global network this year, please follow the blog, leave a comment and let me know how I can serve you. #GoGlobal

global network

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 🙂