Great quote as I’m starting into Daniel Pink’s, Drive:

Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible.

Drive, Chapter 2, p. 58

A philosophical idea that is applicable to every area of life.


The Switch Framework – How To Make A Switch

I recently finished reading Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. Overall good read. Practical information told well with the right amount of humor and case studies to make it fun and interesting.

In short, here is the summary of the principles:

For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently. Maybe it’s you, maybe it your team. Picture that person (or people).

Each has an emotional Elephant side and a rational Rider side. You’ve got to reach both. And you’ve also got clear the way for them to succeed. In short you must do three things.

Direct The Rider

  • Follow The Bright Spots. Investigate what’s working and clone it.
  • Script The Critical Moves. Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviors.
  • Point To The Destination. Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it.

Motivate The Elephant

  • Find The Feeling. Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people feel something.
  • Shrink The Change. Break down the change until it no longer spooks the elephant.
  • Grow Your People. Cultivate a sense of identity and instill the growth mind-set.

Shape The Path

  • Tweak The Environment. When the situation changes, the behavior changes So change the situation.
  • Build Habits. When behavior is habitual, it’s “free” – it doesn’t tax the Rider. Look for ways to encourage habits.
  • Rally The Herd. Behavior is contagious. Help it spread.
Currently I’m a few chapters into Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. I’ll keep you posted.

Steve Jobs’s Strategy? Get Rid of the Crappy Stuff


Another great little article on Fastcompany.com.

Never heard of Fast Company before. Neither had I until just a few months ago. Here is how they describe themselves:

Fast Company sets the agenda, charting the evolution of business through a unique focus on the most creative individuals sparking change in the marketplace. By uncovering best and “next” practices, the magazine and website help a new breed of leader work smarter and more effectively.
Fast Company empowers innovators to challenge convention and create the future of business.

Additionally, their subscription rates are fantastic – $15 for 2 years (20 issues).

Hopeless Prayer

Hopeless Prayer

What the rescue of the Chilean miners didn’t teach me.
“Ask and it shall be given.”
So lots of people asked that 33 miners trapped a half mile beneath the earth be rescued. And they were.
It’s the sort of thing that makes prayer that much harder, don’t you think?
Some people make it sound easy. “God has spoken to me clearly and guided my hand each step of the rescue,” Carlos Parra Diaz, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor at the San Jose mine, told The Guardian. “He wanted the miners to be rescued and I am His instrument.”
When extraordinary things like this happen, it brings out the megalomania in some people. But I think a local Catholic priest had it right: “God has heard our prayers.” Lots of prayers from lots of people.
And it was given.
When this sort of thing happens, I feel like I’m being set up. If prayer never “worked,” I could deal with it sensibly. I could just give it up. Or give up one type of prayer—intercession. Just stop praying that God would do this or that, change this or that. Prayer could just be communing with God. But when God answers prayer like this, it sets up this god-awful expectation that God gives to those who ask.
“Ask and it shall be given” is a nice, warm saying, but it should really be, “Ask and sometimes it will be given.” Or more realistically, at least in my prayer experience, “Ask and once in a blue moon it will be given.”
Answers to my prayers happen so rarely that I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED, when they happen. I’m not talking about everyday prayers—for safe travels or healing from a cold. God seems to take care of travelers and colds whether I pray for them or not. I’m talking about prayers for things I really care about, people I’m really worried about—that a friend might come to know Jesus, that a loved one will be healed of cancer, that a relative will give up drugs. There seems to be an inverse prayer corollary in my life: the more important the prayer, the less likely it will be answered. But indeed, once in a while a big prayer is answered—like the college friend who became a Christian, or a church member who was healed of cancer—and my jaw drops and my eyes fill with tears. I’m astounded, again, that God would answer prayer.
This after living the Christian life for over four decades.
* * *
When it comes to the REALLY BIG prayers, well, I’m a hearty believer. I regularly pray for peace on earth, but it hasn’t done any good. Still, Jesus said it would happen, and so as far as I’m concerned, this prayer will be answered.
Some day, far in the future. That’s the rub with REALLY BIG prayer. It’s so far in the future that it feels pointless to pray it. It’s so assured of happening—whether I pray or not—that you think, What’s the use?
And yet Jesus tells me to pray such prayers: “Our Father … thy kingdom come.” Pray for the thing that’s going to happen whether you pray or not. Pray for the thing that is so far in the future and so unimaginable that you feel silly praying for it.
He’s also the one who said, “Ask and it shall be given.” I’m pretty sure he meant this for big and small prayers, and everything in between.
Ask for things that are likely to happen whether you pray or not.
Ask for things that are unlikely to happen.
Ask for things that get answered sometimes but not others.
Ask when you feel like asking is selfish. Ask when your asking feels foolish. Ask when you feel hopeless.
And it will be given.
* * *
It’s that last state—feeling hopeless—that characterizes my prayer life most days. I have so few important-to-me prayers answered that I’m afraid to pray for such things anymore. Who wants to be disappointed with God again?
So I find stories like the answered prayer for the Chilean miners more irritating than inspirational. As a CNN story says, the miners “showed us there is hope even when the worst seems certain.” Well, for me when the worst seems certain, I have the hardest time having hope. Sorry, CNN. Lesson not learned.
Fortunately, having a hopeful feeling when the worst seems certain is not a Christian idea at all. When the worst seemed certain, Jesus pleaded with God to avoid it. It was not a prayer confident of bright tomorrows: “Take this cup from me. But not my will, but yours be done.” It was prayer grounded in the realism of unanswered prayer, to a God who is to be prayed to because he invites us to do so whether we feel like it or not, to a God who runs the universe splendidly, whether we pray or not.
Here’s the lesson I have learned from Jesus, a lesson reinforced by four decades of failed prayers. It doesn’t matter how I feel when the worst seems certain. Jesus didn’t say, “Ask when you feel hopeful.” He just said ask. And he said it will be given.
What exactly will be given is not entirely clear! When it will be given is not noted! How it will be given is not specified! Jesus is being his usual elusive self in this enigmatic saying.
But two things seem clear. First, we are to ask God for things that are important to us, no matter how we feel about God or prayer or the thing prayed for. In Jesus’ theology of prayer, there is no hint that prayer is the way we transcend desire, as if having desire was a sign of spiritual immaturity. Desire is apparently what humans do, something woven into the fabric of our humanity from day one, a divine gift, the first hint that we are made for something outside ourselves, a something that can only be realized by taking the first small step of asking. Prayer is not a way to overcome desire, but the first thing we do with it.
Second, once we announce our desire to God, it’s his job to deal with it. Prayer is not manipulating heaven to fulfill our desires. It’s putting what we desire into the hands of a loving, if inscrutable, God and letting him fulfill it in his time, in his way.
Of course, sometimes he’s gracious enough to answer it in our time and in a way that makes sense to us, like reaching down into the bowels of the earth to raise those who were as good as dead.
Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today. He is author of Jesus Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of an Untamable God (Baker), and the forthcoming Chaos and Grace: Liberation in the Spirit (Baker, 2011).

A Few Notes From Switch

A few thoughts as I’ve been reading through Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. I haven’t finished the book yet, and I’ll post more as I go along.
Here are a few points I’ve found interesting so far…

  • To change behavior you have to change the situation
    • Often our heart and mind disagree and limit our ability or willingness to change.
  • Direct the “rider”
    • What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.
    • Provide clear direction.
  • Motivate the “elephant”
    • What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.
      • Self-Control or the gut-it-out, grit-through-it, will-it-into-reality is an exhaustible resource.
    • You can force but only for a short while. Engage people’s emotional side.
  • Shape the Path
    • What looks like a “people problem” is often a situation problem.
    • When you shape the path, you make change more likely not matter what is happening with the rider and/or the elephant.

In tough times, a rider will see problems. You must remain solution-focused.

  • Solution Focused Problem Solving
    • Q: If a miracle happened tonight and went problem went away, what is the first sign you would see to know it was gone?
    • Q: When was the last time you saw a little bit of the miracle?

Too many options and ambiguity lead to decision paralysis.

  • In a change situation, the hardest part is in the details – Script the critical moves.
  • Clarity dissolves resistance.

During Difficult Times, Remember

Lamentations 3
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!
20My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
21But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
25The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
28Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him;
29 let him put his mouth in the dust—there may yet be hope;
30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever,
32but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;

Joel 2
25I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.
26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.  
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.

Isaiah 42
3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.

Google Instant Proves Google’s Design Process is Broken

I enjoyed this Fast Company: Design, September 10, 2010 article, not as a “dig” against Google, but rather the authors clarification and definition of design and pointing out how design can be reduced to a mere process, rather than an expression communicate.