Category Archives: Family

Prayer in the workplace

The name of Jesus has become taboo in the workplace because of an increasingly fearful and political climate. Many employees can be fired for so much as inviting someone to church and it’s safe to say the anti-Christ movement in the business community has won the war in resounding fashion. Unless you own or are a part of a faith based organization, your options can be very limited. For the purposes of this article I will assume you own or have a prominent position in your company. Here I will talk about a few ways in which you can run your business as a Christian without hiding your faith or offending others.

1. The first thing I would recommend doing is to pray at your meetings.

This can really be scary for many people but it’s important that people know you are accountable to a higher power and that you rely on Him. The bible says: Luke 9:26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.

I have to admit this is a tough scripture to follow. It’s easy on Sundays to praise God with like minded people, but it’s a whole another story to sit in front of a bunch of guys and girls who don’t necessarily share your opinions and may even look down at you for praying and still pray. If you want a business that has honesty, integrity and character it starts at the top (Christ, not you).  You don’t want to just show up one morning and start praying unless you’re okay with a lot of weird looks and shock. Each employee needs to be taken aside privately and told what you will be doing from now on. Personally, I tell every new employee that “I’m a Christian so I like to pray over my business once a week; you don’t have to join along if you don’t want to but I want you to know what to expect.” If they are uncomfortable they can choose before ever working here to pursue other options but at least they won’t be blindsided at their first meeting. Below are a couple do’s and don’ts of praying:

 DO:
1. Lift up your employees individually for the good they are doing
2. Ask God to bless your employees
3. Admit your dependence on Christ in front of them (humility is a good thing)
4. Keep it short and to the point
 
 DON’T:
1. Insult others in your prayer
2. Put down other religions
3. Correct someone or the group during the prayer
4. Ridicule
5. Have a marathon prayer
 

2.  Next, it’s important to put up your company core values based on biblical principles. Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Foster an atmosphere of honesty, integrity and respect; which is essential for any successful business but even more so the business owned by a Christian. At times it’s good to bring the core values up at meetings and ask people if they are sticking to them. Say what you mean and mean what you say!  

3. Last but certainly not least is your own example. I Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. Once you tell people you’re a Christian and pray in meetings, they will look at everything you do. You will no longer be afforded the same leniency that other owners and bosses are given; you will now be held accountable for all your actions and if you fall you will most certainly be called a hypocrite. This is what makes professing your faith at work so scary. We all fall short and God knows I’ve made my share of mistakes and said things I wish I could take back, but in the end you will be judged on the whole of your work more then anything else.

You may be wondering if all this is worth it and rightly so. I can tell you from my experiences that if done right it’s more than worth it. I don’t use God to promise people riches because I don’t believe he’s some kind of magical fairy that grants us wishes. The benefits that I do get from running a business like this is the ability to walk into the doors each day and find satisfaction in the work I do. Also, each time I pray I hope it plants a mustard seed of faith in the people around me and maybe one day it could change their life. My business is my ministry, it’s the road I have chosen to travel and I think it’s fitting to end this with the famous poem of Robert frost.

 

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
 
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan

what makes a man

what makes a man

Owning a business or leading a team can be one of the most challenging things you can do, but it can be fun and rewarding if done right. I always say I’d take the worst day in my life as a business owner than the best day I had working for someone else, and I say this because for the most part (since I got to choose the industry I want to be in-sportswear), going to work has always felt like a lot of fun, instead of a tedious obligation.

It is easy to take for granted that my team members may not feel all the excitement and vision I have for the company. One of the biggest yet seldom addressed pitfalls of a small business is the psyche of the team members and how they feel about you, the company and the brand. I have learned over the years that pre-maintenance is a lot easier than damage control so in order to keep my office up and running on all cylinders there are 7 things I like to do:

1. Have a plan and write it - Sounds so simple but one of the biggest failures of small business owners is that you have dreams and ambition but it doesn’t make it on paper. This leads to constant changes, instability and employees losing trust that you’re the right person to lead them. Nobody wants to be lead by someone who changes their mind about the direction of the company on a whim (I’ve learned this the hard way). You may have a ton of brilliant ideas and in time you will get to them but remember you must first “plan your work and work your plan”.

2. Communication - Nobody will tell you that they like meetings but it’s vitally important that you have at least one scheduled each week to talk about where the company is at, what direction the company is headed and at least one personal victory story from the week before.  Personally, I like to start my meetings by casually talking about the weekend events and really try to get the team involved. When you are meeting with 12 and under this shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish; if the group is larger you may have to be a little creative. Next we go over each team members highs and lows of the previous week so we can learn from each other and finally we cap it off with this weeks expectations; it’s simple and to the point.

3. Food - Everyone loves food and there’s no quicker way to get a group moving and motivated than bringing in something delicious for them to eat before your meetings or during the week when you feel the momentum has shifted away from what you want. Every once in a while I’ll go out and buy each person the candy of their choice or just pick up a big bag of assorted candy and put it in a bowl… Be careful of candy coma (yes, this has happened to the office before). Also, never underestimate the power of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.

4. Games, games, and more games - I own a sportswear company so games come easy. We have office brackets for the NFL and NBA playoffs, March Madness and pretty much anything else that comes up. We also play in an inner office fantasy football league which creates some very fun and colorful talks each week. Participating in inner office games like these will bond your team members and create a sense of belonging and loyalty.

5. Have a plan for each employee - Everyone wants to achieve and succeed at what they do. Your job is to map out a career path for each person working for you and let them know about it. When an employee knows you have a plan for them, it is easier to get through the hard times when they come (which they will, they always do). The plan also motivates them to work harder to achieve the next step in their careers. As a small business you may not have a lot of opportunity at the moment but you can plan to grow and when you grow, the new positions that become available should be filled by current team members if at all possible. This will give the next guy who’s working his way up some hope for his future as well and boost company morale.

6. Plan trips - Each year I try to take a company vacation with the team. This may sound expensive and unnecessary and at times it is, but if you can budget it in, your team will love you for it and make your company a place everyone wants to work at. We usually make our annual business planning session an excuse to hit the slopes or spend a weekend at the beach. When budget does not permit, be creative! Paintball nights or something that everyone loves to do can go a long way.The benefits  far outweigh the costs and create memories that will stay with you forever.

7. Get to know them - In America employers have a phobia about actually getting to know the people who work for them.  I find this to be one of the dumbest things American businesses have adopted. Knowing about your team members’ family and kids, or other loved ones and actually asking about them (God forbid) is a great way to help them achieve their goals and let them know you care. For some reason we have been raised up to believe the boss has to be cracking the whip and glaring through their office window at their employees to be effective, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A great leader will know how to balance being personal and objective and when to be what.

Boosting Employee MoraleShow you care and your team will also care, that’s a win-win if I ever heard one. Morale is one of the most important factors of growth that a leader has to pay attention to in a small business. If your employees give up, your business will soon follow. I have had my share of letting it slip every now and then but it is always good to be reminded that it can turned around if we put the above tips into practice.

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Having friends with benefits can be one of the most rewarding and beneficial things you can do. I’m not talking about having a “friend” who will roll in the sheets with you whenever you are bored; the downside of those kind of arrangements are too many to count (talk about mixed messages)… I’m actually talking about real friends with benefits and why it will make the difference between whether you become successful in business or not.

Friends With Benefits

Friends With Benefits

“You can have everything in life that you want, if you will just help other people get what they want”-Zig Ziglar. This is a great quote that talks about the first benefit of a good friend. Over the years I have learned that when a friend is in need I have to be there for them, it’s not an option. This can cause a lot of inconvenient times, especially when you have a business and a wife and kids and, well, you get the point. The reason I do this is not to get something out of them but to let them know they are important to me. Inevitably though, whether you believe it’s God (which I do) or some other cosmic force, when I’m in need someone is always there to help. Without the help of friends I would have failed long ago and not had the strength to get up. So the next time you have a friend in need, take the time make a difference.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” I think out of all the quotes and sayings going around these days, nothing can be closer to the truth than this one. Over the years I have gained many friends and believe they all have value in my life but there are always those friends that have the ability to actually make things happen for you when you need it. It’s important to build a network of influential people that can make a difference in your life. I have different circles of friends for different things and by far my most important circle is my advice circle. These are guys I can be honest with and I know that when they give me advice it will be wise and unbiased. I’ve had countless times over the past 10 years where I was stuck at a crossroad and if I didn’t have men like this in my life I would have taken the wrong path, and that’s the difference between running a company or looking for a new job on an endless cycle of failed jobs. It’s hard to find friends like this so when you do, let them know you appreciate them and all they do for you.

“Bad company corrupts good character”-the Apostle Paul. This is the hardest of my friends with benefits tips. Nobody wants to tell a buddy to bug off, because, well, they are your buddy. In the end though, every friendship you have should be evaluated and if for some reason every time you are around this particular person, bad things happen then it’s time to break off your BROmance and find friends that will not get you in trouble. If you don’t know how to do this I’ll give you a helpful hint, ask your significant other. My wife can spot a bad influence friend a mile off and after I get done fighting with her about it, I usually come to my senses and see what she had seen long ago. When I don’t come to my senses fast enough though, I know she will repeatedly remind me of my mistake for the next decade or two. So my advice is to act swift or face the consequences.

Friends are a touchy subject for many people but if you want to succeed and become more than you are today, make sure the friends you want to keep in the future are helping you get there.

By: Todd Marinshaw owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Child CEO

Children and CEOs

When I was a kid I dreamt of doing great things, making a difference and having an impact in this world. I had the drive to conquer the world and the immaturity to hurt everyone around me while doing it. I was basically a self obsessed lunatic for most of my young adult and teenage life,  just like the majority of teenagers in the world, I walked around thinking about myself all day long and acted accordingly. You could say I was not off to the best start at becoming a leader and making a difference and you would be 100% correct.  So what changed? Besides finding Jesus (not that he was lost or anything), I got married and had kids! And lived happily ever after.. Hmm, sounds pretty dumb but you wouldn’t believe how many people actually think this is what happens.  The truth is for the first time in your life you are not the most important person in the world, so you can either embrace it or fight it. The choice is yours but if you ever wish to be a great leader, I would choose option A.

Here are three things I learned from my kids that make me the CEO that I am today:

Example is everything: When I’m at home the phrase “Monkey see, monkey do” is never more evident. One day while I was in the garage unloading some things out of the back of my SUV, I decided to try and juggle everything in one hand while closing the door with my other hand. Usually this is no problem and I can complete this task like a pro but on this particular day my head was in the clouds and I shut the door on my fingers. The next few words out of my mouth were nothing I will be ever proud of but suffice to say they would not be included in a Disney movie. When I looked over, my child was standing there listening and ran off repeating my cute phrase over and over again for Mommy and the whole world to hear.  Lesson learned, you never know when someone is listening, especially when they are 3 feet tall. Even if I accidentally (because I would never do this on purpose) burp, I know for the week the dinner table is going to become the burp Olympics for the kids. Translation; nothing we do goes unnoticed so be careful.  Work is no different. If I start showing up late and leaving early, within a week my employees are doing the same thing. As a business owner I have to make sure I either open or close so I am showing an example of punctuality. If I make a crass comment while at work, yep, you guessed it, someone else will inevitably follow suit. The worst is when I get mad about a customer because all of a sudden everyone feels justified to vent their frustrations about a customer out loud and that brings moral and customer service down.  So be careful because people are watching.

When things go wrong, encourage, don’t shout: My kids are amazing but inevitably they do things that make me want to tear my hair out. The other day one of my children spilled their drink on the table as soon as I sat down to eat. The first thing in my mind after a hard day’s work and cooking and serving and cleaning was not “Oh honey, that’s okay, Dada loves you and I know it was a mistake”… No, the first thing on my mind was “God, please, please, what did I do to deserve this?” This kind of thinking many times will inspire me to bark out a harsh or angry remark that in all honesty is completely undeserved. Sometimes I actually use my brain and decide to say something encouraging and deny my primal urges of frustration and the result is usually spectacular. When I encourage them and tell them I believe in them and they can do better next time, it is like watching a light bulb light up and the happiness for the rest of dinner is infectious. Employees are not much different; I am not saying if your employee continually screws up you should put up with it (see point three for more on this). I’m saying when an employee unintentionally screws up, instead of showing frustration and anger, or even just reprimanding them, make it a learning moment for them and for others in their department so that not only does the mistake not happen again but the employee feels grateful that you didn’t blow them up for an honest mistake. Fear works for a little while but loyalty works much better; I’d rather have loyal employees than fearful ones.

Say what you mean and mean what you say: When calling the kids to dinner, many times it can go like this “Kids, dinner’s ready, lets eat”, then you wait, and wait, and wait. Next you say it in a louder voice “KIDS! Come eat!” You may get an “Okay dad” but still nobody comes. At this point your frustration builds and you scream “KIDS!! COME EAT NOW OR YOU’RE ON TIME OUT/lose your video games/fill-in-your-own-threat” and amazingly the kids come running. What did I learn? That every kid has the ability to obey if the rules are clear, and that I need to mean what I say the first time, and that I need to enforce consequences before they become threats. If you don’t really mean what you say, even kids can tell, how much more adults? So when I’m at work I’m careful to never say anything I’m not willing to follow through on. If we have a rule and it’s broken, I have to take that employee aside and make sure it does not happen again with a warning or even a write up. If I have a sales rep and they don’t hit their number, I have to bring them in and talk to them or they wont be motivated to hit their number each and every month.  I hate doing these things but not doing them in the past has caused me to lose the respect of my employees.  If you don’t want to enforce certain rules, then don’t make them rules! Always be clear about what you expect out of your employees.

 

I can probably write a book about everything else I have learned about leadership from my kids. But for now, if you learn nothing else in life about what it takes to be someone who people would want to follow, then embrace these three things and you have already won half the battle.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

There have been countless movies and TV shows glamorizing the thrill of sleeping with someone who works for you but few will make the plot line about a married couple. They have no idea how much more action, drama and thriller this involves! Yes, I confess I’m sleeping with my employee and she happens to be my wife. Usually this is a recipe for disaster for both work and family life and is not recommended. For those of you brave enough to bring your wife on board I have a few tips that will keep your sanity and your marriage. Here are my three life (and marriage) saving tips.

The first and hardest tip to follow is to never, ever get angry/annoyed at her publicly. I have messed this up countless times and have paid for it 10x over each time I did it. What usually happens is I’m trying to verbalize an idea or make a point and since she is such an awesome, smart, intuitive wife she will “innocently interrupt” me  and reply to what I was saying before I finish. Then I, in all my masculinity, get frustrated at this public display of being cut off and I say something shallow, dumb and a bit harsh at times. It all seems innocent but it does a couple things that you can’t reverse in the office- first it makes you look weak for having to resort to putting her down; second, it makes you look like you don’t love your wife because you embarrassed her in public, and third, it makes your wife want to put an ice pick through your thick skull and walk away satisfied.  The benefits of doing this are, well, ummmm, none.

My second tip is to always trust your wife’s intuition. Over the years Tina has warned me countless times about people or ideas she thinks are wrong and at times I have listened, which has led to a lot of good decisions. But more often than not,  I usually doubt her, make her explain herself, sit on it for a month or two while I mull it over and then act once disaster strikes.  This may sound idiotic and that’s because it is; for some reason God forgot to give most men a sixth sense when it comes to people while he gives women an abundance of this and it drives us nuts. I generally try to find the best in people and will trust them until proven otherwise while Tina can get around a person for five minutes and be like “That one’s not going to work out”. To this day I still have to fight down my irritation when this happens but when I have the sense to listen, I have never looked bad. Maybe I should read this article once a week so I remember? Anyway, take it from me; being macho and blowing off your wife’s advice is a mistake you will wish you didn’t make.

My third tip is simple, “Be nice to the girl”. I got this tip from my good friend Mark Gungor, who is one of the best marriage gurus I’ve ever seen. It sounds so simple but it’s so hard for us guys to remember. Even if you work with your mate don’t treat them like an employee.  In the workplace, they need to be loved and appreciated more than ever, and there are lots of ways to show it. I highly recommend public praise with some flowers or something thoughtful sprinkled in a least once a month.   This should get you more love points and forgiveness when you blow tips one and two.

Alright, now that we have gotten through some basic rules of working with your spouse, who is ready to sign up? If this isn’t for you then great, you are in luck! But if you do decide to take the plunge and you can stick by these principles it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you ever have.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw (In response to my wife’s seemingly popular post Married To My Boss). Todd and Tina own a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.

Be Nice To The Girl

Be Nice To The Girl

Tina and Todd

People always ask how I met my husband. A small  girl from the Philippines with a 6 foot ex-Special Forces white man- the stereotypes can be hilarious! The most common of which is that we probably met at the Naval Base, with me doing what?  The truth is, Todd and I were set up as a blind date while he was visiting Manila for an international church conference (Nope, not one of those Korean ones where you all get mass married!). Singles mixer, everyone’s excited, his friends ask my friends to go out, and poor little me just watching it all happen. As if an afterthought, one of the guys said, “Don’t worry, we can set you up with Todd”. Todd? Who’s Todd? Todd was in the middle of the dance floor surrounded by more than a dozen starry eyed single ladies. So I casually parted the crowd and said, “Excuse me, you are my date tonight”. And the rest, as they say is history.

I left a very promising career in brand management working for global brands such as Levi’s and McDonalds to follow Todd and start a new life in the US. Before anyone can say “INS Work Permit”, I was offered a marketing job in a new product development company in San Francisco.  Not a year later and our CEO offered me a position that would’ve involved more traveling to pitch our products to fortune 500 companies. See, said CEO was young, successful, and not very bad looking, so you can imagine my then new husband’s reaction to that. (FormerCEO, if you are reading this, now you know why I really left ha-ha). In all seriousness, Todd and I wanted to start a family and knew we needed a lifestyle that would make that easy. So we started brainstorming and opening our eyes to opportunities and before we knew it, the idea for a fully custom team sportswear company, Allen Sportswear was born.

Cut to 10 years later, and what seemed like a fairy tale has had it’s share of ups and downs.  We have learned a lot about each other and from each other. Even though the experience has been incredibly rewarding, there have been a few occasions when I have threatened to resign and work at Disneyland if need be.  I personally think that working with or for your husband is a calling that only a few can embrace! Date nights can turn into strategic planning sessions and bedtime cuddling can include random financial analysis discussions and even weekends can turn into family field trips to paint the new office. The line between family and work gets blurred and heated discussions become the norm. For anyone who has ever worked for us and been completely bewildered by our dynamics, I want to take this opportunity to say I am sorry. And you are welcome- for the endless entertainment! But what can you do when you are the complete opposite of each other  in the workplace? Whereas he is the visionary, always dreaming of new products and spewing out new ideas, I am the analytical planner, SWOTing in my brain and spilling out a list of why it won’t work critical success factors long before he can finish his sentence. Whereas he can close a deal with his ability to build rapport and articulate his ideas in 10 seconds, I tend to ramble and go off tangent in my obsession with details. (Check out the awesome logo and simple layout of this blog site..oh wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, Todd is from Mars and I am Venus!) Yet in spite of this stark contrast in personalities and skill sets, we are both very driven and passionate about what we do, and so with much prayer, perseverance and the guidance of inspiring leaders we have in our lives, we have both learned to use our differences to shape us into something more powerful together. Proverbs 27:17 shares this wisdom, long before we figured it out! “As iron sharpens iron, so one man (or woman) sharpens another.”

So what is the secret to being married and staying married to your boss? I honestly haven’t figured it out. But what little I know, I hope to share through this blog (along with other random managerial and technical how to’s that I so terribly enjoy but do not have enough airtime during meetings to share). I am excited to share my experiences and learn from yours, to continually sharpen each other and together, we can band as one to become the most effective leaders in our respective organizations.

By: Tina Marinshaw