Coca-Cola and the Influence of 1

Being an Atlanta native, there is something really fun about being in a foreign country, looking at the container of your drink and seeing 2 words : “Coca-Cola” and “Atlanta.”  This past week I have been in Brazil, and as I was sitting in a restaurant the other night, I could not help to think of “home” as I drank my Coke Zero from a glass bottle in a country on the opposite hemisphere from where it all began for the company!

What I could also not help to think about was the influence of one man running a medium sized company was the catalyst that lead to Coke being one of the single most known products and brands in the world.  If you are not familiar with Coca-Cola history, I will fill you in on just a small piece.

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On a Scale of 1 to 5….

Every year around this time the team that I work with at WinShape Camps does something that very few organizations do.   For one work week, we put everything on hold – The whole team puts up an away message, packs our bags, and we head to a location together to  stop, evaluate, dream, and plan for what is in store.

We call this week an “evaluation week” as we always start our time by diving into all ‘customer service data’ that we have.  We look at trends in our evaluations from parents of campers, from the campers themselves, our summer staffers, and even evaluations from ourselves.  We try to take a step back and look at what we are doing, celebrate things that have gone well, and look for areas to improve upon in the coming year. Read More »


Cutting Back to Leap Forward

I have grown to love a new hobby… For some people, when they get home from work, they love to watch sports, for some its Bill O’Reily on Fox News (well, I do love that too), for others it is running and jogging in 105 degree heat – For me it has become yard work.  I never thought that I would be one to love working in the yard – specifically picking weeds, trimming hedges, and cutting grass – but the opposite it true… I love it.

I love 2 things about it the most:

1) I love that I can see the final product in a matter of a few hours after I get started.  When I walk out in the yard, the grass maybe high, the bushed may be out of whack, and the weeds may be taking over my beds, but in a few hours I an sit with a sweet tea on the back porch and enjoy the fruits of my labor.  This is something that I do not experience daily in my work – as I work on projects that hopefully impact lives and I may never see the full fruit of the labor – so I do enjoy seeing it in the yard…Instantly.

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@BackstageLeader Lesson 3: Dan T. Cathy

This was a really interesting session with @backstageleader and possibly the one that I anticipated the most from my semester in the program.  I was not really excited about this from the fact that I was planning to hear a ton of information that I have not heard before, but more so to hear Dan in this context – to see how he would relate to this group and to learn from his interactions.

Crazily enough the think that I learn from Dan the most is the value of people.  Every time that I get to spend with Dan, I do feel like I learn so much, but it really boils down to the stewardship of influence and how you interact with people.  The time with Dan during the Backstage Leadership Session was no different at all.

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@BackstageLeader Lesson 2: Mike Foster

The next session that I had with @BackstageLeader, was with a guy named Mike Foster. People who were in high school and college at the same time as me will probably know Mike mostly from being the co-founder of and organization called XXXChurch. Currently Mike is working on something called, People of the Second Chance, so check out his site if you have a few minutes.

Mike works also in the field of branding and graphic through his studio called Plain Joe Studios based out of California, so a lot of what he had great isight on was project management, new ideas and creativity.

One thing that he said that really stuck with me is that

“people will never respect you for what you are about to do, only for things that you do do.”

To be really honest, ideas are a dime a dozen. You can sit at a table with 3 people and come up with a list of 10 ideas in about 5 seconds. Then when you get done and look at your list of 10 ideas, that will lead to a new list of 3o ideas that have spun off the first 10, then 90 ideas, and so on. Point is that almost anyone can come up with an idea – but how do you make your idea a reality.

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@BackstageLeader Lesson 1: Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson was the first session for the semester of @BackstageLeader and it was an incredible start to a semester of learning. I actually have already blogged briefly about the call with Batterson, so be sure to check it out but I will add to it here.

One thing that Mark said that has stuck with me almost more than anything this semester is this one quote:

“We over-estimate what we can do in a year and we under-estimate what we can do in 10.”

I can not tell you how often this plays out in my life. As a leader (young or old) we tend to put everything on our plate. We think “if I can just do this, and take that trip – if I can go to this conference, and work on that project – if I can just complete this task list and start working on a start-up ministry…” We think we can take on the world – and rightfully so – we can. We have unbelievable abilites and talents. God has wired us each with our own strengths and with those we can do amazing things…But not all at one time.

Do you ever wonder if you are doing so much today that you can not even begin to think about your sphere of influence in 10 years? Do you ever find your self so swamped in the today’s work that you could never even dream of what 5 years from now will look like?

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You are Where you Eat – Local Leadership Lessons

I really love restaurants – I mean really love them. I recently told someone when I was standing in line for a taxi at the New York Airport, that I could easily enjoy eating my way through a town when I travel. I don’t love eating a ton of food, but I love local restaurants and seeing places that I have never been before. I think it is great to be able to walk into a place that you can see no where else in the world and get some great food and some local flavor.

I also know where I want to eat when I come to a town. For instance, when you do come to Central Florida, you should definitely eat at Charley’s Steakhouse, and when in Birmingham, AL you need to take a stop at O’Carrs for some incredible Chicken Salad. I also love to be in Atlanta and take a stop by the original Chick-fil-A in Hapeville, or stopping at the Carnegie Deli in New York City.

I think that the thing is that a lot of what makes a local restaurant so good actually has a lot of lessons that we can learn about leadership and running a great organization. I know that it may seem a bit off, but I can explain:

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Keeping Track of Thoughts

This week I have been learning a lot about getting organized, getting everything out of your mind and getting in on paper, how to keep up with all bits of information that come in, etc. I attended a seminar in New York called “Getting Things Done” in which we talked a lot about writing thoughts down and developing a system of what to do with the things you write and how to process next actions or storage.

I say all of that to bridge to my next thought.

I have always had a hard time keeping track of things. I think that I get a lot of great ideas about how to change work items, how to make things better, future plans and growths, etc. but I seem to loose a lot of them. I think its because I may not value them all. Sometimes I think “well by time I can actually do that I will have thought of something better.” Chances are this is right, but why start from scratch every time?

On Monday I was on a call with Mark Batterson though BackstageLeadership and one thing that stood out to me was this thought:

Keeping track of things is more of a stewardship issue than anything. God has given you a gift of thoughts and ideas and you have to be a steward of those things.

I think that we so tend to get caught up on the idea that stewardship is wrapped up in money, but what abut our thoughts and our ideas? Are we not stewards of them? Would we ride down the road with our trunk full of money and the lid open so it can all fly out? No thats absurd, but are we not doing the same thing when we do not write our thoughts down?

…Just a thought.

What methods do you use to record all of you thoughts? A blog? A Moleskin? Do you have an App for that?


Leading our Generation

The reasons that I will be writing on the ideas of leading the next generation and working with Gen Y and Gen Z is that I first of all have a passion and a desire for my Generation and the generations to follow us to not allow endless opportunity to pass us by, but more so for us to be able to see and shape the future; for us to be able to seize every opportunity and take advantage of the possibilities that we have to be the most influential group of people that this world has ever known.

Another reason is that it has recently become a career for me; a chance to spend my whole days and weeks seeking out opportunities to find the best ways for our organization to pour into the lives of young people, specifically to pour into and invest in college students. We are so excited and blown away by the quality of young people that we are able to do live with and we understand that there is potential for them to do more in life to change society than ever before.

I have recently started reading “Not Everyone Gets a Trophy,” a book written by Bruce Tulgan that is looking into some myths about the Gen Y group and actually talking through the best ways to get the most out of the young people.

One of the most challenging things that I have read thus far that may challenge you in your org as it will mine as I unfold what this will look like is this:

“If you want high performance out of this generation, you better commit to high-maintenance management.”

See, we are an organization of doers, leaders, and thinkers who need and desire a transitional relationship with our bosses. We believe that we have things to offer as well as a lot to learn, and inside of all of us, we want to be invested in and valued. We need our bosses to be coaches, investors (in our lives), and teachers.

So, now its time that we step up to the plate. We get to be the leaders that our generation will want to follow. How will you do this in your org?

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