Treasures

if you want to be perfect, go sell all of your possessions; give everything to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.”

Matthew 19:16-22 gives us this wonderful account of a teachable moment with Jesus. A rich man approaches Jesus and ask “what good thing must He do to obtain eternal life?”

After some discussion Jesus gives the Rich Man a list of things he should not do such as:

“Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, and do not lie.” 

Jesus also gives the Rich man several things he should do such as:

“Honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”

After Jesus told him these things the rich man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”

Then Jesus told him: “Then if you want to be perfect, go sell all of your possessions; give everything to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.”

The rich man’s reaction to what Jesus said was captured perfectly in The Message Bible translation of Matthew 19:22:

“That was the last thing the rich man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.

Jesus teaching in this passage is clear.  We often value and hold on to the wrong “treasures.”   God is calling us to let go, not just the material “treasures” like clothes, electronics and jewels.  But also to “treasures” like titles, positions and relationships.

Jesus wants us to let go of these “treasures” so that we can receive the true treasures that being a follower of Jesus can bring.

For as Jesus tells us in Matthew 20:29, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive one hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”

©2015 Marben Bland

Marben Bland, is a faith leader, writer and speaker.  Send an email to comment on this post to marben@marbenbland.com  Find more posts at www.marbenbland.com

How To Become A Leader That Inspires Loyalty

The cost to replace an employee can range from 11% of annual salary to over 21% and above, based on the complexity of the job. Great leaders inspires loyalty by being self-aware, setting goals that are challenging, and building solid relationships

Mother-TeresaGreat leaders not only understand how to get the best from themselves; but, they know how to teach, guide, and empower others to do their best, as well.

Great leaders recognize what a privilege it is to lead; and they view themselves as servants to those they lead.   They are constantly seeking ways to improve; so, they can become even more effective.

Great leaders inspires loyalty; which goes beyond simply following the leader.  A great leader creates an inspired loyalty, generating a partnership where everyone has a stake in the outcomes of the work that is performed.

Rarely, leaders that inspires loyalty are born; however, they can be developed.

Let’s examine three things that great leaders do to inspire loyalty:

  1. Self-Awareness

Massive_KirkLeaders that inspire loyalty have a high degree of self-awareness.  Self-Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality; including strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

Leaders can increase self-awareness with a deliberate campaign of using several of the established self-awareness tools:

The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator assessment is a psychometric questionnaire; designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

Roughly, 2 million people a year take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It has become the gold standard of psychological assessments; used in businesses, government agencies and educational institutions.

Find out more about The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator by going to www.myersbriggs.org

DiSC – DiSC is a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication.

The DiSC measures four areas of leadership interaction:

Dominance Measuring the emphasis leaders place on accomplishing results; the bottom line, confidence.
Influence Measuring the emphasis leaders place on influencing or persuading others, along with openness in relationships.
Steadiness Measuring the emphasis leaders place on cooperation, sincerity, and dependability.
Conscientiousness Measuring the emphasis leaders place on quality and accuracy, expertise and competency.

Find out more about DiSC by going to www.discprofile.com

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a structured project management planning method that is typically used to evaluate the prospect of success of a project or business venture.  However, the principals of the SWOT Analysis can also be converted into an easy to use yet effective self-assessment tool.

The SWOT Analysis will allow you to perform a self-assessment of your:

S Strength Characteristics of your personality, education or experience that give you an advantage over others.
W Weaknesses Characteristics that place you at a disadvantage relative to others.
O Opportunities Elements that you can exploit to your positive advantage.

 

T Threats Elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.

Click here to download a SWOT Analysis Template.

  1. Achievement Via Goals

 

Hand underlining Set Goals with red marker isolated on white.

Great leaders know the importance of goal setting.  More importantly, great leaders understand that goals can help them:

  • Get teams and people focused on what is truly important
  • Transform the hard to the easy
  • Establish a culture of accountability

Leaders use the SMARTER method to set and keep powerful and inspiring goals:

S Specific A clear thing to be accomplished
M Measurable Actionable identifiable items
A Agreed Upon Announced and accountable
R Realistic Can be done
T Time Framed Scheduled with a start and stop
E Evaluate Redo, reload for success
R Rewrite Adjust the goal to meet the new need

A leader who establishes clear and concise goals can create the energy and drive needed to push teams and people to new heights.  This type of high accountability, and high performance in the workplace inspires the type of loyalty that will drive long term success.

For more on goal setting read:

3 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Work Productivity

How to Manage Time, Especially When You Think You Don’t Have Any

5 Ways to Become More Powerful at Work

  1. Building Solid Relationships

kids-sharing-ice-creamGreat leaders understand that they can’t just boss people around from the corner office. Building solid relationships mean that they need to have a sense of who you are, and know what is your definition of success.

Mary Shapiro, a professor of Organizational Behavior at Simmons College and the author of the Harvard Business Review Guide to Leading Teams, has the following suggestions for building rapport with your team:

Communicate Your Values

While you are building relationships with your employees, you also need to impart your values, the way you think, how you will measure performance, how you make decisions, and how you expect them to work.

Overcommunicate

Employees feel good when the leader takes the time to talk with them.  Great leaders make regular communication, both formal and informal a key part of the way they do business.

Know Your Employees

As much as we extol the ventures of democracy, the work place is not democratic.  Your role as leader is to be in charge and your subordinate’s role is to adapt to your style.

However, great leaders can inspire employees with the simple act of getting to know them.   Keith Ferrazzi, the bestselling author of the business networking book Never Eat Alone suggest that leaders should at least know these things about their employees:

  • Your employees birthday
  • The names and ages of your employees children
  • Hobbies and other non-work interests

While some may want to shy away from the personal lives of employees, great leaders know how to walk the fine line and show the real interest that inspire them to new heights of loyalty.

For more on relationships read the post:

Are You Leading Your Boss?

 Are You a Leader Who Inspires Loyalty?

george-c-scott2

 

The cost to replace an employee can range from 11% of annual salary to over 21% and above, based on the complexity of the job.

According to statistics compiled by Americanprogress, over 50% of all respondes indicated that they did not leave a jobs, they left a leader.  Therefore, a key competent of leadership is to inspire loyalty.

Great leaders inspires loyalty by being self-aware, setting goals that are challenging, building solid relationships and much more.  However, the real key is continued investment in oneself and the employees that they lead.

The author, salesman, and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said it best: “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them.”

With more than 10 million satisfied customers Fred Pryor Seminars and CareerTrack provides high-quality, convenient, and practical business-skills training around the world, in every industry and sector.  Go to www.FredPryor.com to discover more about the inspiring training opportunities available.  Use the Customer Appreciation Code 2378 at checkout.

 

A Prayer for Memorial Day

It is my Memorial Day prayer that we embrace your peace. So that we may study, engage and die in war no more.

Dear Heavenly Father;

We put them in harm’s way in Midway

We put them in danger in Saigon

We put them in jeopardy in Kabul

And in all these places and many more at home and abroad

Brave men and women who went there full of life to protect our freedoms lost those lives on our behalf.

Father, we pause this weekend to remember those who went to fight.

Father, we stop this weekend to recall those who were wounded.

Father, we bow this weekend in relevance to honor those who died.

We thank you for those who fought

We request your healing for those who were wounded

And…

We pray for your rest for those who died

Dear Heavenly Father;

It is my Memorial Day prayer that we embrace your peace.

So that we may study, engage and die in war no more.

 

©2015 Marben Bland

Beyoncé’s 5 Strategies To Build A Great Presence On Social Media

Beyoncé2Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is more than just a superstar singer, actor and dancer.  She is an icon.  As one of just a handful of worldwide icons, the 33 year old native of Houston sets the trend in music, fashion and style.

Beyoncé’s masterful use of social media allows her to be “heard above the noise” in a globally competitive, cluttered, and sometimes confusing marketplace.  With social media Beyoncé  offers direct access to her adoring followers that are eager to receive her clear, concise, and convening messages.

The juggernaut which is Beyoncé has been built on 5 simple and timeless marketing strategies that we can all employ to build the social media presence that can get us hired, lead people to our church or sell our products.   Let’s explore them:

  1. Know Your Purpose

Beyoncé knows (LOL) why she is on social media.  Every Facebook post, Instagram Picture, and Beyoncé5Pinterest Infographic is intended to accomplish a specific goal.  She tweets to promote a new song.  She does a Y-Tube video to showcase a movie.  Then, she write a blog to bring attention to a cause.  The key is to know what you are trying to achieve and then to use the right social media tool.

Key Beyoncé Point: Know What You Want To Achieve And Then Use Social Media To Achieve It.

  1. Narrow Your Audience

Beyoncé15Yes, Beyoncé is a worldwide icon.  However, her true core audience that will plunk down money to download her music, purchase her cosmetics and go to her movies and concerts are in the 18-45 age bracket and mostly female.

Beyoncé has found the great often overlooked secrets of social media; which is to understand that your audience is narrow.  Beyoncé is not trying to cultivate followers with AARP cards. She is targeting the narrow; but, still larger chunk of the audience that will respond to her call to “buy” what she is selling.

Key Beyoncé Point: Find Your Sweet Spot and Cater To It.

  1. Use the Best Tool

Additionally, Beyoncé has mastered the art of giving her audiences what they want on the social Beyoncé9media platforms that are more effective to reach them.

Defined broadly, social media is simply using information sharing tools to send messages to a mass audience.  One of the best examples I have seen of using the right social media tool for the audience, comes from the pastor of my local church who uses recorded phone messages with her elderly flock as an effective social media tool to provide mass updates.

Key Beyoncé Point: Social Media Is Old and New School, So Use the Best Tool to Reach Your Audience

  1. Constant Contact

Beyoncé10Consistency of communication produces the best social media presence. Beyoncé’s camp provides some type of social media post on average every two days.

Now, I realize you and I don’t have a “camp”; and we probably don’t have the time to produce posts regularly like Beyoncé.   However, we can keep up with the global godless by following the 4 C’s formula for posting content:  Continuous, Create, Curate, Circulate

Continuous:  Set a regular schedule of posting that is right for you. The regularity is more important that the frequency.  For example, if you blog weekly your readers will be more loyal if they are provided content at the same time and day every week.  Less is actually more if it is done continuously.

Create:  About a third (33%) of the content you post should be stuff that you create:  Pictures, blog post and Infographics.

Curate: Is simply pulling together content on the web for presentation to your audience.  The second third (33%) can be from content that you have found on the web that is a fit for the people who read your email newsletter, or Facebook page.  You are free to curate any of my blog post just go to my webpage www.marbenbland.com for more posts.

Circulate: The final third (33%) of your web presence is comprised of the spontaneous sharing of posts that come across the web.  Circulation differs from curating; because of the speed of the share.  Twitter is the best platform for spontaneous sharing.

Key Beyoncé Point: You Cannot Have A Social Media Presence Unless You Are Present On Social Media. (Use the 4 C’s.)

  1. Visuals Are Queen

Beyoncé6Perhaps Beyoncé’s greatest gift are her looks. The camera loves her and she loves it back.   More than ever the web is viewed on mobile devices and it thrives on pictures and video. Therefore, feed the beast by using the 4 C’s to give your audience a steady diet of visuals.

Key Beyoncé Point:  You Don’t Have To Look Like Beyoncé To Provide Great Visuals!!!

Be Like Beyoncé… Be Present

In today’s information driven society a presence on social media is a must for success. However, the good news is we can have the same impactful presence on social media as the icon Beyoncé.  We can have a social media presence when we employ the same timeless marketing strategies that Beyoncé and millions of others have done.

Social media has leveled the playing field of influence, where it is less about the money and more about the strategies.  Beyoncé has a presence now.  How about you?  See you on the social media.

 

 

 

Faith Of Our Mothers

Motherhood is one of life’s highest callings. God created motherhood not only to repopulate the planet; but, to serve as a symbol of His love for us.

This weekend we pause to honor our mothers.  Regardless of our relationship with them if is  good or bad; or if our mother is young or old, living or have passed on.  I hope you will take a moment to think about your mother and take the time to thank them.

Motherhood is one of life’s highest callings. God created motherhood not only to repopulate the planet; but, to serve as a symbol of His love for us.

The mothers featured in the Bible are like the mothers in our lives.

  • Eve – The Original Mother
  • Sarah – Mother of Isaac
  • Rebekah – Mother of Jacob and Esau
  • Bathsheba – Mother of Solomon
  • Jochebed – Mother of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam

And 

  • Mary – Mother of Jesus

None are perfect; yet, they each displayed a strong faith.  God in return rewarded the faith of the mothers in the Bible and the mothers in our lives by blessing them with the tenderness, toughness, and wise council necessary to raise Godly children.

Proverbs 31:25-30 is an apt description of the faith of a mother:

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” …

Therefore, this weekend let us celebrate:

  • The faith of our mothers in giving us life
  • The faith of our mothers in providing us with wisdom
  • The faith of our mothers in representing Christ’s love in its truest form

Faith of our mother’s holy faith!  We will be true to thee ‘til death.

Messages From Baltimore

As the events in Baltimore continue to play out, what messages can we glean from the actions of the past few weeks?

On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man was arrested by the Baltimore Police.  While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center. Gray died on April 19, 2015; his death was ascribed to injuries to his spinal cord.  Gray’s death sparked days of demonstrations; which erupted into rioting on the evening after his funeral on April 27th.

Six Baltimore police officers have been charged in his death. As the events in Baltimore continue to play out, what messages can we glean from the events of the past few weeks?

Message One:  Policing Is Challenging

The police in this country have a difficult job.  They have to deal with some of the most difficult, diverse; and yes, sometime violent people in our society.  The police do all of this in an environment where they are under-valued, under-resourced and under-armed.

The Message From Baltimore:  The police deserve our respect, and more resources to perform a difficult job more effectively.

Message Two: Being Arrested Is Dangerous

Regardless of the reason, an arrest is a loss of freedom.  A police officer that has been charged with that duty may encounter a person who resists.   Therefore, the arrest, regardless of how it may go down is fraught with danger.   While exact data has not been compiled, people have died during arrests. With the pervasiveness of the camera phone in several high profile cases the events leading up to those deaths have been captured.

The Message From Baltimore:  After repeated exposure to these arrest videos from around the nation the general public have questions about the use of excessive force in arresting unarmed suspects.

Message Three: Baltimore’s Stark Income Disparity

While the death of Freddie Gray trigged the rioting the root of the undress stems from the gap between America’s rich and poor.

CNN Money describes the growing income inequality in Baltimore in these terms: “Driven in part by globalization and technology that have wiped out jobs, income inequality is a mounting problem around the U.S. The issue is particularly acute in Baltimore, the biggest city in the country’s most affluent state.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income of African-Americans in Baltimore is just $33,610; compared with $60,550 for white households,

Even more dramatic, the U.S. Labor Department reports, the unemployment rate for young black men between the ages of 20 and 24 stood at an incredible 37% in 2013, compared with 10% for white men of the same age group. Moreover, nearly 24% of Baltimore’s population lives below the poverty line.

The Message From Baltimore:  Despite the bleak economic conditions rioting, looting and violence is never acceptable.

Message Four: An Unlikely Troika Saved The Day

When calm was restored to Baltimore it was not due to the police, the curfew or the National Guard. Rather the unrest was put down by an unlikely troika of community leaders, churches and gang members.  Gang members were particularly effective in reaching the youth who were part of the widespread looting and rioting.  Community and religious leaders formed a line of “human shields” between the police and the rioters.

The Message From Baltimore:  These unlikely partners were the real heroes of Baltimore and they must be part of the solution going forward.

A Final Message: Hope For Tomorrow

The situation in Baltimore showed the worst and the best that America has to offer.  The worst: The death of an unarmed suspect in police custody, the rioting and the looting.  The best: The calming of the city produced not by force; but, by the people themselves.   Hope for tomorrow lies in Baltimore solving these and other challenges:

  • Trust between the police and the community must be restored.
  • Economic vitality must return to the inter city.
  • The alliance between community leaders, the church and the gangs must be leveraged and continued to bring real and lasting solutions to Baltimore’s challenges.

What happened in Baltimore is not just a Baltimore problem.  Many American cities are just a “Freddy Gray” situation away from sparking the fuse of discontent caused by endless years of police misconduct, crumbling schools, and dismal job prospects.

The problems of the urban America can be solved.  However it will take innovative actions, political will, efforts by businesses, continued leadership by the troika and money from the taxpayers and private sector.

Inspired leadership will be needed for the difficult days ahead.  For that inspiration we need to look no further to these words of America the Beautiful “America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!”

The Message From Baltimore:  Our urban brothers and sisters need our help; but more importantly they have demonstrated the ability and wiliness to help themselves.

Let’s us send a message to Baltimore that we stand with them ready to give them our help, attention and prayers