Updates for October

Long time, no see. So, we’ve been busy. Who isn’t, though? So far, it’s been a great fall. Here’s some of the highlights:

  • Mrs. Jones and I have started working with Mercy Clinic Fort Worth to provide communications services. You should go check it out (after you’re done reading this post, of course).
  • Miss E was the cutest Halloween strawberry:
    halloween strawberry
  • The MBA is coming along nicely. It’s just the academic challenge I’ve been itching for. Each class is a window into a world of insights that I honestly didn’t know anything about or just refused to see. Such as:
    • In Economics (the market kind, not the Marxist kind), did you know that competition isn’t between sellers and buyers, but amongst sellers or buyers. I didn’t. Probably through a combination of bad information and English professors, I had just come to a meandering conclusion that to sell anyone anything meant accepting a certain level of being ripped-off, as if the whole world were populated by unethical used car salesmen (what can I say? I went to a state college with a strong populist bent). I was wrong. Capitalism may be about competing for market surplus, but it can’t survive if everyone is cheating each other.
      People who cheat won’t survive in the long run… which sounds an awful lot like Proverbs 10:2: “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.”
    • The four functions of management are: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling (monitoring). Note this does not say: “ordering people around.” I’ve got a whole other post coming up about this.
      Bill Lumbergh

      Bill Lumbergh… the classic middle management caricature.

      So, yeah… not coming in on Sunday.

    • Any group of humans who manage to stick together long enough to accomplish something have a system of rules – some explicit, some implicit – which govern behavior. It’s the implicit rules, or culture, that usually trip up newcomers. I’m not sure why I’ve refused to acknowledge this reality — I’ve always seen it, but refused to accept it. I’m not sure why I expected ministry to be different — people are people, even the saints.
    • Good strategy comes from the top. Good feedback comes from the bottom (and the top). When this cycle is disrupted, there will be problems. Guaranteed. How is this cycle disrupted? A combination of bad internal communication and misunderstood culture (see the point above). When I think about the dysfunctional organizations I’ve been a part of, this stands out big in my mind.
    • Black Friday isn’t a bargain. Most people know this. It’s not about the bargains; Americans like the thrill of the hunt and competing with one another (see my first point above).
    • A good attitude is vital to your survival. When I say good, I mean healthy not unrealistically optimistic. Some days are going to be fantastic and others will be rotten. A good attitude is a mindset of responding in a correct and mature fashion.  There is nowhere you or I can go that will ultimately reward us for having a bad attitude. The struggle is real, but struggle we must.
    • Showing up (aka. doing what you say you will do when you said you will do it) is definitely more important than being the smartest person in the room. Again, the struggle is real. If you struggle too, do what I do — tell yourself a new story: “I am a person who shows up.” Then do it. When you struggle, don’t change your narrative — admit your limitations, and just keep swimming.

Business school has been great for me. Modern management shares many commonalities with stewardship. Every class I learn something and think to myself: “Wow. I can’t believe I want to serve the Church, and I didn’t know that!” This is definitely Phase II of equipping myself so that I can equip others.

Until next week (yes, showing up is part of my narrative now)!

Oh, and don’t forget! Check it out: mercy-clinic.org

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