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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

There are hundreds of sure fire ways to ruin your business, but there are a few things that the typical well meaning but ignorant small business owner unknowingly commit. In offices with a few employees, often times owners and employees alike start creating a family atmosphere, which is great but can also be a double edged sword because well, as we all know, families are normally dysfunctional.

Listed below are 11 great ways to wreck your business!

 1. Hire a consultant that knows nothing about your business and turn the reigns over.

 2. Hire employees that are okay with lying and cheating.

 3. Take lots of vacations and post pictures on Facebook of your amazing adventures for your employees to see.

 4. Act like you know it all and be unapproachable.. usually reminding them at least once a day how great you are helps too.

 5. Publicly criticize or put your employees down (always a crowd favorite).

 6. Delegate everything to the point you have no real function in your own company.

 7. Talk crap about ex employees that current employees actually liked. 

 8. Hire people that don’t fit in with the people you have and then keep them just long enough to ruin your company chemistry.

 9. Keep your office door closed all day while at work so people know you are more important than they are.

10. Share every confidential and proprietary information with your employees and don’t be a paranoid fool.

 11. Never, under any circumstances, listen to the advice of the people that love you (especially not your wife/husband)

 At the end of the day, your business is your livelihood. You are the owner, the CEO, the HR department,  and PR Department. Govern yourself accordingly.

 

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

Inevitably, no matter what you do, your business will go through change and turnover. Sometimes that change is the direction your company needs to take and sometimes the change is a good employee leaving at a bad time. Change in general is stressful. It can and will produce at least some anxiety and uncertainty but that does not mean that change is necessarily a bad thing, in fact, when handled right, it can be a good thing.  Whenever faced with change here are 3 tips to make it a positive for your company

 

Change just ahead

Change just ahead

1.  Step back and evaluate – Where have you come from and where are you going? Now is the time to analyze your business and look at it objectively. In the case of a good employee leaving the question you should ask is:

  • Should I keep the position they are vacating or eliminate it? Sometimes you may not ever realize it but you will find you kept a position just because you had someone good doing it. On hindsight, that position may be able to be outsourced or become part of another position which is already in place.

  • Should I hire from within or outside? You should always hire from within if at all possible because it builds team morale and rewards loyalty. If nobody is qualified then you have no choice but to go outside for help

  • Can we make the department better? Overall, look at the department and determine if there is any way to make business processes easier, more efficient and more cost effective.

2.  Take action – Don’t be indecisive, once you’ve evaluated the situation, take the necessary steps immediately and let your team know you have a plan.

  • Meet with each team member –  meeting with each team member individually lets them know all is well and gives you a chance to talk about their future with the company as well, ensuring they go away excited and inspired instead of depressed or down.

  • Promote – Now is the best time to promote a team member and or give them new responsibility. You don’t always have to give raises either, sometimes just working out a nice bonus if they do a great job is the best solution. Again, this will boost morale, and morale is always infectious in the office

  • Re-evaluate – It sounds silly to re-evaluate after you’ve made changes but it’s important to look at your body of work and make sure the pieces are all fitting together. If not, it’s better to make a change now then 6 months from now when the damage has been done.

3. Celebrate – Whatever changes you have to make, make sure the team sees it as a positive and not a negative. Celebrate the promotions and future opportunities for the whole department and as long as the employee that’s leaving is leaving on good terms you should also celebrate how much they have helped your business and let them know you appreciate them. The goodwill you create with  the rest of your crew will be immeasurable.

In the end, face every challenge and see every change as an opportunity for growth. As the leader in your organization, you are the man or woman behind the wheel, navigating each twist or turn, no matter how unexpected, to eventually lead your team to your intended destination. You set the standard so when your team sees you as a steady rock in a sea of change they will remain confident and productive.

 

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

Defiance

Defiance

If you aim at nothing you will hit it everytime- Zig ZiglarThere is probably nothing that more graphically illustrates the importance of focusing on your goals than being in combat. Yet the same principles apply in any leadership setting. Having been in the US Navy for 19 years, I have had my fair share of military leadership and learned the discipline it takes to stay focused and help others around me do the same. In those years, I have excelled (mostly) and rose pretty fast through the ranks, despite some set backs in the early years, and have landed at the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer.

There are many factors to successfully leading in the military that also applies to leading your business, your sports team, even your family to success. But there is one lesson that is most commonly overlooked yet most critical to creating a road map to success- and that is to establish and disseminate your Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles. Before you jump into a series of tasks and tactics and find yourself wondering why you are somehow missing the mark, draw that mark!

1. Mission Statement:
Your mission statement should be clear and concise! This statement describes what your organization or department is about. Start by asking yourself these questions: “What are you aiming for?” “What is your overall objective that will guide the actions of your organization?” “What is it that you desire to achieve and how will you achieve it?” As you work on refining your answers, don’t confuse it with short-term strategies or specific goals. When writing a mission statement think broad scale- 10,000 ft view from here! Think about including these 3 key elements:
1. Key Market. Your WHO. Your target audience, primary stakeholders, or customers.
2. Contribution. Your WHAT. What product or service are you providing to those customers?
3. Distinction Your WHY or your USP. More commonly referred to as your Unique Selling Proposition, it answers the question “What makes you unique?” or “Why would a customer choose you over a competitor?”

One example of a good Mission Statement is:“To provide the fast food customer food prepared in the same high-quality manner world-wide that is tasty, reasonably-priced & delivered consistently in a low-key décor and friendly atmosphere.” I stole that one from McDonald’s! Your individual Mission Statement, whether you’re writing it for your overall organization, or just for a smaller department, may or may not include all the elements above. The Mission Statement for the US Navy Chief Petty Officer is: “Provide leadership to the Enlisted Force and advice to Navy leadership to create combat-ready Naval Forces.” You’ll notice no distinction statement, primarily because there’s nobody else that does what we do – no competition!

2. Vision:
Your vision should describe who, or what, you intend to be. Again, use as few words as possible, yet succinct, broad-term, but not too generic. Although the vision statement for the US Navy Chiefs is a little longer than some, it is concise enough and careful consideration was given to use necessary language to drive the point home to its leaders:
“A senior enlisted force that serves first and foremost as Deck-plate Leaders committed to developing Sailors and enforcing standards; remains responsive, aligned and well-connected to both Leadership and Sailors; and conducts itself in a consistently professional, ethical and traditional manner.”

3. Guiding Principles:
Although some organizations may use Values over Guiding Principles, the context is basically the same. There is a little more specific direction here for how you expect those in your organization to act. They are a set of shared beliefs that drive the priorities, behaviors, and perception, thus creating the organizational culture. I’ll share a good example from the Coca-Cola company that helps drive the point:

  • Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
  • Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
  • Integrity: Be real
  • Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
  • Passion: Committed in heart and mind
  • Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
  • Quality: What we do, we do well

Your first challenge of being a BOSS is defining what your Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles are. What are the things that have driven your success and what can you imitate from previous leaders that you have deemed successful? You can start there, but these should be extracted from deep within your soul – and they also have to align with the larger organizational statements. Whether you are a supervisor on a factory floor that makes widgets, a mid-level manager, or CEO, you need to develop these statements and values. If you can arrive to work on your first day with these statements already in place, you’ll be ahead of the power curve. If you’re already in a leadership position, it’s never too late to do a round-turn and get these on paper. Spend some time on them. And most importantly, you need to CLEARLY communicate these to your subordinates in order to provide consistent direction and expectations. It may not be a bad idea to share your MVS to the person you report to. Again, maintaining that alignment up and down the organizational chain is fundamental to your success. It will also show your BOSS that you have a true leadership prowess, and that’s NEVER a bad thing!

By: Brandon Keener is a Senior Chief Petty Officer at the United States Navy, a leadership position where he manages people, programs and policies. Brandon and his wife have also launched a couple of successful home based businesses based in San Diego, CA.

Be more than you are

Be more than you are

 

Valentine's Day in the Office

On Valentines Day, don’t forget to “love your employees”. It’s easy to treat Valentines Day just like any other day but if you don’t do something special for your employees today, you will have missed a golden opportunity to make an impact in their lives. Yes it’s corny and yes it’s commercialized,  but it’s a harmless excuse to show some appreciation to the people who you have entrusted your livelihood with. Here are three appropriate and thoughtful ideas:

 1. Hallmark hits the heart - That’s right, write your employees cards letting them know you appreciate all they have done to make your company great and don’t make it generic. People can smell generic a mile away so make sure you think about something they’ve actually contributed to the company and don’t be afraid to mention that you have great plans for them in the future. Hope is the most powerful tool!

2. Candy it upCandy is a fun and easy way to encourage your team. Chocolate for the ladies and swedish fish or sour gummies for the guys. At least that’s the way I roll, you may not care but I feel weird giving another dude chocolates.

3. Flowers for her - Here’s one that when done right is great, when done wrong can be very uncomfortable. It’s a great idea to get some flowers for the office and if you’re really in the Valentine mood you can get each of the ladies a single rose (pink is a safe color). What you don’t want to do is get a dozen red roses for the cutest girl that works for you and a piece of chocolate for everyone else. The only exception to the rule is when the cutest girl that works for you happens to be your wife. That’s right, that’s how I roll….

If you haven’t done any of these things yet it’s not too late, run to your local grocery store and make sure your team feels loved today!

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd is married to the cutest girl in the office and he did give her a dozen red roses and a box full of chocolates, which their employees ate, along with the other chocolates and candies he gave each of them personally:-) 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.
 

Running

Running

Sales atmosphere is a tricky thing. In order for your team to be productive you need the right combination of pressure vs fun, fear vs safety, self motivation vs teamwork. Balancing the atmosphere can be a full time job, but if you pay attention every day you can stay on top of it before it gets lopsided and toxic.

Pressure vs Fun - Too much pressure creates “The Boiler Room”, too much fun creates an early 90’s dot com company. Both are bad for business and unsustainable so it’s important to find the happy medium. I have to look, listen, and feel the tempo of what’s happening on the floor. If the  atmosphere gets too tense I’ll go out and bring up some random sports news that get people to stop thinking about their problems and allows them to relax for a few minutes while discussing things like “Is Richard Sherman really a thug or not.” If the atmosphere gets too lax and everyone is having fun but practically nothing is being accomplished, then I need to go out and redirect everyone’s attention to the numbers. This usually sounds like a SONA (State of the nation address) but it jolts people out of dreamland and focuses them back on winning. Usually I will accompany this by finding additional cold call leads for each of the reps and adding it to their call list. If they can’t find any work to do, I will find it for them and once they know this they usually figure out how to stay productive.

Fear vs Safety - Personally I like my office to feel like a family atmosphere but that can backfire at times. Managers will tend to either make their employees feel too safe or too fearful and I’m definitely on the safe side. This can be good and bad; good because people like coming to work and enjoy the atmosphere which in turn creates camaraderie and loyalty, and bad because they can tend to get lazy, not hit their sales numbers and feel like it’s okay because their job is safe. To stop this from happening, it’s important to have regular meetings with your reps to go over their numbers along with plans to get them moving if they are behind. If for some reason their numbers stay down you need to nip it in the bud quickly by putting them on probation. Don’t let bad habits sink in or you will end up losing a good employee in the end.

Self motivation vs Teamwork - Every sales rep needs to be self motivated (this is a must). At the same time if you want to have a great team, the reps need to have some selflessness and be able to help the team. A good sales rep many times will hit their number a week or two before the end of the month and this is great but it also makes them tempted to sandbag deals to get the next month started off hot. I put individual numbers up on the board but I stress what the team goal is often to try and prevent this. In order to hit your team goals each month all the reps need to put that extra effort into helping the team and not just worry about themselves. A sure sign you have a sandbagger is that he/she always has a slow last week of the month followed by a bunch of sales turned in the first couple of days of the next month. This is a person you need to talk to about being a team player before it becomes a problem. You want every rep giving 100% each month, when they don’t, other reps see this and it becomes a cancer that has to be cut out.

Atmosphere is not hard to regulate as long as you stay on top of it each day. If you as the manager let this go too long, you will suffer one way or another, which usually means losing sales reps and costing you money to hire and re-train. To effectively run a company and keep your bottom line, it is important to avoid unnecessary expense and turnover. Take these tips to the bank and enjoy a prosperous year.

 

Successful Business Team

Successful Business Team

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