Monthly Archives: August 2014

Jesus Never Criticizes

As the summer comes to a close, I am rereading the classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. This timeless text by Dale Carnegie has proven to be the roadmap for effective people leadership, since 1936.

“Never criticize” is the first principle of Carnegie’s fundamental techniques in handling people. Carnegie says “Criticism is futile. It puts a person on the defensive and makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous. It wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”

Carnegie’s distain of criticism has a biblical foundation. Paul in Romans 14:13 advises Let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother.” (The Amplified Bible).

Carnegie’s chapter on criticism along with Paul’s words in Romans caused me to start praying, apologizing, explaining and changing the way I deal with people. However, as a long time criticizer, always quick to judge, and find fault, condemn or establish blame, breaking this long time habit has proven to be difficult; yet, not impossible.

This introspection has led me to develop three principals that will head-off my urge to be a critic. I present them in this post with the hope that they will do the same for you.

1. Smile A Lot

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:16

Criticism put you in a negative mood; causing you to be cynical about even the most subline things. Your attitude is your reality check. Smiling is a great way to keep yourself in a positive mood. In addition, research shows smiling can improve your health, stress level, and lowers your blood pressure which may lead to a healthier, longer life.

Try This Smile Test: Now, try to think of something negative; but, don’t lose your smile. Was it hard? When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life Is Good!” Smiling will help us stay away from the negative feelings that can lead to criticism.

2. Encourage People

….encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1st Thessalonians 5:11

Life is tough. Situations, finances, and people can get us down. Encouragement in the form of a friendly word or compliment can turn a negative situation into a positive experience.

In my travels I have the opportunity to interact with service sector professionals in airports, hotels, rental car counters and restaurants. These are jobs that are ripe for criticism; because of poor service, high prices, and the general crummy things that can happen during travel.   Carnegie and the Scriptures have transformed my thinking regarding these travel dilemmas. Instead of dwelling in the lowness of criticism inherited in these quandaries; I look for ways to encourage and support the professionals assigned to the task of finding solutions, and performing services while babysitting the traveling public.   Think about it. The airline gate attendant has no control over the weather that has delayed the flight. However, on a daily basis they are confronted by disgusted passengers that respond as if they do. So, to prevent myself from being that guy, I pay attention to the gate attendant and their work ethics; that way, I can sincerely compliment and encourage them.   Try it and you will be amazed by how your actions not only made the service professional feel better; but, it motivated them to perform better.

3. Look for Opportunities to Coach

 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” Hebrews 10:24-25

By now, I am certain many of you have wondered if and when is criticism acceptable. “How can I point out things that people are doing wrong?”   You do it by coaching. Theologian Robert E. Logan says the goal of coaching is to help someone succeed. And what is success? Logan defines it as finding out what God wants you to do and then, do it. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Finally, Logan reminds us that a person’s success is directly tied to finding out what works God has prepared for them.

So, how do I coach someone? The best coaches only offer their advice to those who have asked for it; and those that have given permission to receive it. The Bible has many examples of great coaching:

  • Barnabas and Paul
  • Paul and Timothy
  • Ruth and Naomi
  • Boaz and Ruth

We can help people succeed by offering our wisdom, experience, and knowledge; which, is much more powerful and engaging than simply, criticizing.

Jesus Never Criticized. He Coached and Loved

Jesus is the ultimate coach. He was asked by God to coach man. Part of his coaching was to be born on earth in a humble manner. Jesus asked his disciples to follow him; while he coached them and prepared them for God’s work. He coached the masses by healing the sick. He coaches us with His love when we are downtrodden. His parables were teachings by way of coaching. Jesus never criticized us; even when he hung on the cross. God shows us through Jesus that the difference between criticism and coaching is love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Jesus did not die on the cross so we could criticize each other. Jesus died for us to live our lives abundantly. He wants us to have a cheerful face and be encouraging one another. We should build up one another with positive coaching and love. People who live an abundant life should know how to win friends and influence people not for themselves, but for the kingdom of God. Because the people of God never criticize!



How To Get Noticed On LinkedIn

Whatever you are doing: finding a new job, obtaining professional information, or becoming a thought leader, networking is the most effective means of getting what you want.

Visibility is the key


Keith Ferrazz, master networker and author of the book Never Eat Alone emphases that 90% of networking is just being visible. “People can’t network with you if they can’t see you.”

With over 200 million users LinkedIn is the biggest and best site for networking on the planet.   Your LinkedIn profile is the gateway to people, contacts, and connections that will make your goals a reality. So, the question is how do I go about becoming the most attractive needle in the LinkedIn haystack?

3 Ways to Get Notice

Baby Walking Up Stairs

1. Update your Summary

The Summary is one of the most neglected sections of your LinkedIn profile. Fill your profile with keywords that recruiters, customers, suppliers will use to search and find your profile. My recent summary changed from a narrative to a list of key words netted at a 30% increase in profile views. More views translate into more opportunities to network. Sharpen your haystack needle with a revised summary.

2. Become Active within a LinkedIn Group

Church Leaders2A needle that stands out in the LinkedIn haystack is committed to consistently adding value; while engaging your peers’ informative conversations. Becoming active in a LinkedIn Groups can dramatically improve your networking.   However, you need a strategy for engaging you needle in the LinkedIn groups’ haystack.

Stephanie Sammons, the Founder and CEO of Wired Advisor, where she teaches financial advisors and business professionals how to build digital influence to win clients, recommends these needle noticing strategies

  • Pick Your LinkedIn Group Wisely


Stephanie urges her clients to join LinkedIn groups up to the 50 group limit. Within the 50 groups, you should really focus on 3-5 groups that will be the home for most of your networking activity. Then adopt the networking principle of “going small” to maximize your visibility by ensuring your top groups are small, a few hundred members; but, no more than a few thousand.

  • Target the Most Popular Discussions in Each Group


The most “popular” discussions within a group generally get the most visibility. These are the topics where members are most actively engaged and they feature discussions that you will want to weigh in on. The most popular discussions are at the top of the group discussion page, and typically, there will be quite a few comments associated with them for you to review and learn from.

Stephanie urges you to weigh in on popular discussions, respond to existing comments, provide an insight or opinion or even ask a thought-provoking question to generate additional comments. You can also “Like” and “Share” these discussions with your connections. The purpose of the strategy: Your valuable comments will lead group members to your profile, growing your status as a Thought Leader and a go to person.

  • Start Your Own Discussion

Starting your own discussion thread is also a powerful tool within a group; but, you must be strategic with this. Stephanie recommends that you wait to start your own discussion until after you’ve spent some time participating in the top discussions first.

3. Blog using the LinkedIn Publisher tool

Social Media GlobeContent is king on LinkedIn and the Linked Publisher tool is game changer. The new LinkedIn publisher tool allows members to contribute professional insights by publishing long-form posts on LinkedIn. Each post will show up on the home page of your connections; ready to be liked, commented and shared with potentially millions. Those of you who follow me have seen a dramatic increase in my LinkedIn published posts. You can use previous posts on this new easy to use platform to build an inventory of thought leadership information that will lead people to your profile. P.S. Since I am committed to using posting on the LinkedIn publisher tool on a regular basis simply liking and sharing my posts will increase your visibility.

Final Thoughts

Black&White Handshake

LinkedIn is different from a job board where you post a resume and then wait for something to happen. Visibility on LinkedIn is under your control and is based on content and influence.   Content that you can produce, supply and curate will grow your influence on LinkedIn; which will produce more views of your profile.   Content, influence and strategy will make you the most attractive needle in the LinkedIn haystack.

The Consequences of Ferguson

 “…and the Lord God clothed Adam and his wife with garments made from the skins of animals.” Genesis 3:21 (Living Bible – TLB)

Scripture tells us in Romans 6:23 that, “The wages of sin is death.”

The very first death occurred on the same day as the very first sin. It was the death of an innocent animal that God used its skin as a covering for the nakedness’s of the now newly aware Adam and Eve.

Much about what happed in Ferguson is still to be understood. Evidence needs to collected, leads must be investigated and people need to calm down. However, if trends continue it appears that some skins will need to be handed out.

  • Skins – For the police and the way they have handled the situation
  • Skins – For the media, covering the situation as if it were a rock concert instead of a human tragedy and a plea for justice and harmony
  • Skins – For the rioters who have made the situation worst by adding violence upon violence
  • Skins – For a nation still unable to come to terms with the difficulties and issues of race
  • Skins – For me, because I have failed to speak more about these issues within this blog

Shortly after receiving their skins Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. Man’s relationship with God continued to decline so much so that God brought fire and flood to cleanse the Earth of our sins.

Scripture tells us in Romans 6:23 that, “the wages of sin is death,” however, the text continues to say….”but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Despite our sins God is ready to remove our skins thru His free gift called forgiveness. The consequences of Ferguson require justice, caring and compassion.   The consequences of Ferguson require, the restoration of integrity, and the balm of healing. The consequences of Ferguson require the love of Jesus Christ and requires each of us to follow God’s commandment, “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) God expects that of us and the consequences of Ferguson demand that we respond affirmatively.

Personal Branding Tips From Mo’ne Davis

This week baseball fans are being treated to energetic and high-spirited youth of the Little League World Series.   The nation has been thrilled by the exploits of fresh faced 12 and 13 year old kids and how they play our national past time.   Baseball! Also, we have been introduced the most noted player Mo’ne Davis, a 13 year old girl from Philadelphia. She is very impressive. Not only for her 70 mile per hour fastball; but, for the way she handled the attention and media circus that comes with being a girl who is striking out many boy little league players.

While only 13, Mo’ne has already developed a personal brand. She’s thoughtful, smart and quite the gifted athlete who has not allowed her fifteen minutes of fame to go to her head.

In today’s interconnect world, we all have a personal brand or a reputation to maintain.   Perception is reality; and Mo’ne Davis, even at the age of 13 has proven that we control that perception. Let’s take a look at some of the personal brand marketing tactics employed by Mo’ne.

5 Personal Branding Tactics From Mo’ne Davis            

1. Be Intentional – Know Who You Are

Mo’ne has become a sensation with the worldwide media in Williamsport tracking her every move.   However, in countless interviews she has been relentlessly intentional in describing herself simply as “a girl who happens to play sports with the boys”. That kind of intentional clarity along with knowing these 3 basic things is the hallmark of building an effective personal brand:

  • Knowing who you are
  • Knowing your target audience
  • Knowing the perception you want to convey

It is easy for us to fall in the trap of wanting to be all things for all people. However, if we focus on being intentional with a clear understanding of the 3 basics, we can like Mo’ne, build an effective personal brand.

2. Be Concise – Mastering the Elevator Pitch

The fastball is not the only thing that Mo’ne throws. She also has a “nasty” elevator pitch. In branding, connecting is everything. People have short attention spans. So your brand needs to make an immediate impact; verboseness will get you ignored. Mo’ne description as “a girl who happens to play sports with the boys” creates an instant connection; providing the perfect springboard to other elevator topic questions: “What is it like to play with the boys?” “How do the boys like playing with you?” When did you become aware that you could play with the boys?”

While we may not be the queen of the boy dominated Little League World Series, the need still exists to develop an elevator pitch that is:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Correct
  • Convening

3. Be Valuable – Lending a helping hand

At the end the day it is the value we bring to people that is the true measurement of our personal brand. Mo’ne Davis’ performances in the Little League World Series proves that she is more than a girl playing with the boys…she is a qualified and unforgetable baseball player.

We can demonstrate our value to people by seeing how we can be of help to them. The simple act of finding out what people need and then delivering on it will show the type of strong personal branding seeds that will keep people and opportunities coming your way.

4. Be Assessable – Social Media Ready  

At the start of the Little League World Series Mo’ne Davis had less than 20 Twitter followers. Now, after only two games, she has nearly 30,000 followers and possibly attracting more each day.   Social media is an opportunity to clearly define your personal brand. However, the time to develop great social media habits is before we become famous. Even if you hate social media, people who aren’t on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are now suspect. It is worth having a social media presence and a following; because it will help brand you as a person of influence. There is a very real opportunity to grow your business via LinkedIn; get your customers’ feedback via Facebook and follow trends on Twitter. Unless your personal brand is to be a person of mystery and intrigue, you should be using social media.

5. Be Authentic – Maturity, Truth and Trust

Mo’ne Davis’ authenticity and maturity is one of the most impressive things about the young 13 year old from Philadelphia. Our personal brand is driven by trust. Trust is powered by authenticity and maturity. Mo’ne Davis went from an average 13 year old to a worldwide celebrity in demand by the media and fans in Williamsport. However, with fame comes responsibility and it does come with a price. If Mo’ne in an interaction with a fan had been defensive or viewed as rude or standoff, it would have been spread all over social media.

Protect your personal brand by knowing what is being said about you on social media. Have you Googled yourself lately? Do you like what you see? If not, you have the power to change it. Just as social media can help build or destroy your personal brand’s credibility, negative Google results can also spell the end of your credibility. Let maturity, truth and trust power your authenticity; and your social media brand will reflect your real life actions. Be authentic!

Final Thoughts

Twenty years from now, win or lose; Mo’ne Davis will be what we remember most about the 2014 Little League World Series. The personal brand that she built; and her impressive personality, will be the legacy that we will remember.   Your personal brand can be the linchpin of your legacy. Make the investment in time and people to build a personal brand; that is worthy of your God given talents, skills and accomplishments.

Do You Remember When God Was God?

Recently, I attended a planning session for a college class reunion. As we discussed reunion storylines, receding hairlines and expanding waistlines; I was struck by how often our discussion included the question….Do you remember when? Throughout the evening we asked questions like…

  • Do you remember when the afro was the style?
  • Do you remember when cafeteria food was good?
  • Do you remember when music was music?

Memories seemly have moments when we celebrate or lament the end of an era, the loss of a standard, or the change of a classic. However, in this world of constant change when nothing stays the same; jobs, relationships, even the flavor of our toothpaste; there is one constant…our God.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and  forever.                                                                                                                                                                   Hebrews 13:8 New Living Translation

We can depend on Jesus to provide stable guidance in our lives. Not only in the yesterday of our past; but, as we live in the present of today and we create a vision of our future for tomorrow.

Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries.   Hebrews 1:1 The Message

Scripture is the power that has fueled this stability of guidance over centuries. Look at it this way: The scriptures read by George Washington was read by Abraham Lincoln. Those same scriptures are currently being read by Barack Obama and will certainly be read by future presidents.

It is the same for us. The scripture teachings that influenced our grandmothers andour mothers, now influence us; and will provide guidance and influence for our children and grandchildren.

 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

2nd Timothy 3:16 King James Version

The Word of God is the glue and the touchstone that keeps us all in His grace generation after generation. As the word of God is passed from century to century and people to people we will never have to ask the question: Do you remember when God was God?