Rockefeller Habits: Mastering the Use of Core Values

“A strong culture driven by a handful of rules (core values) makes leading people much easier, reduces the need for stacks of policies and procedures, gives everyone a foundation from which to make tough decisions, and generally brings simplicity and clarity to many of these “people” systems within a firm.”

My company’s Core Values:



  • Attentive Discovery – the products and services we have to sell are focused on our clients’ needs and goals, not our own pre-determined understanding of what they want.
  • Loyal Partnerships- Long term and mutually beneficial relationships with our clients are critical to the success of our business model.
  • Economic Value – We provide solutions that meet the needs of our clients and become sound financial investments for them.
  • Equipping and Empowering Relationships – We look for opportunities to help amplify the strengths of those we server: our clients, staff, management, and community.


Techniques for bringing your core values alive:


  1. Storytelling – share stories and relate the “moral” of the story to “and that’s why we consider ____ one of our core values.”
  2. Incorporate into recruitement and orientation – use them to help define the “culture” of the organization.
  3. Performance appraisals – personal plan for how they affect each team member’s role (let them “fill in the blank”)
  4. Recognition and reward
  5. Internal newsletters – why make yourself use “seasons” when you can adopt around your values?
  6. Themes / rhythms
  7. Everyday management – relate decisions to their core values. Relate issues to core values. Relate concerns / beefs to core values.
“Young, old, or in between: people need to know what marks they’re expected to be hitting. They want to understand how they can conduct themselves to please you and your customers. They appreciate a reminder when they goof up. And they want ot know the rules aren’t a moving target or prone to selective enforcement. Your core values will do all of that for you, if you take the time to find out what they are and how you can best make use of them.”



Rockefeller Habits: Mastering a One Page Strategic Plan

Well for starters… is a great source of downloadable forms to walk you through what can seem like an elephant sized project… and remember – How do you eat an elephant?

One. Bite. At. A. Time.

“A Vision is a Dream with a Plan.”

“Nothing ever gets done in any organization until it shows up on somebody’s weekly To Do list – and I do mean weekly! Quit thinking in monthly increments and drive all measurements, deadlines, and deliverables down to weekly increments. It may be painful in the doing, but it needs to be done.”

Being responsible and being accountable are two different things. Many people can be responsible to see a task completed, but the accountabilty can only fall on the shoulders of one. This is the person who gives VOICE to the task or goal.

Resist the temptation to revise or wordsmith. The point is not exact wording, but using a single sheet of paper to say it all for your cmopany, no matter how imperfect. You need something that can be used daily to help the company reach it’s potential.

“You must remember that this process is 1 percent vision and 99 percent alignment. The lion’s share of your effort must go not into meeting, talking, and wordsmithing, but toward getting your people aligned to do what needs to be done.”

I'm Going to Pick A Fight: A new take on Remind Me Who I Am

I’ve written before about how much i liked Jason Gray’s song, Remind Me Who I Am. It has been a great encouragement to me, and one of those affirming voices in the back of my head that helps me see God saying, “I’m proud of you, son,” or simply, “I love you.” However, after some time spent thinking this week and talking with my wife and some men I respect, I’m coming to a new perspective on this song, and others like it.

It’s holding me back.

I’ve been able to step back and look at my life from the outside through the eyes of those I trust this week, and realized there is much growing up I have to do, and that some of the things I put into my ears and in front of my eyes are supporting my childish mannerisms. For instance, to use this song as an example, if I am constantly in need of God reminding me who I am (beloved, forgiven, free, etc.), then I don’t have the confidence, the bravery, or the ______ to step out and say to God, “OK, I believe that. You’ve said it about me and I believe it’s true. So now I am going to ACT like it’s true.” Instead I come running back, asking God for help, safety, and the proverbial “open door” for me to walk right through.

I am of the opinion that God would much rather see me bashing down the gateways of Hell than waiting for an open door, a visible aura, and a choir of angels pointing the way.

Because God BELIEVES in me. He TRUSTS me. He’s given me every spiritual blessing IN CHRIST and want’s me to get off my butt and get to work.

One of the affirmations I have developed for myself is that “I am a son of God, brave and courageous.” I’m ready to change that. I’m ready to move from being God’s child to being his MAN. I want to live my life as a man of God, not forever in child-like faith.

I am a man of God, a trusted ambassador for the King, and an obedient servant of the Most High God. I do his bidding AT his bidding, and will seek out, discern, and accomplish the mission He has given me throughout the course of my life.

Now THAT get’s me moving. And it’s just as true as “I’m God’s child…” perhaps even more true. I’m sure the time will come to plead for rescue, to be reminded of who I am, or to simply admit defeat, regroup, and try again. But this is not THAT day.

Solo Deo Gloria. And as William Wallace said so boldly in Braveheart, “I’m going to pick a fight.”

The Rockefeller Habits: Doing the Right Things Right

I’m currently reading The Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish. I need a place to write down some things to come back to and my blog seems like a decent spot to do so. This book is certainly geared towards business leadeship, but as I read it I see applications for all areas of my life, whether I’m leading, following, supporting, or even just observing.

Doing the Right Things Right

“Figure out what basic needs you can fill for a certain group of customers in a way that differentiates you from the competition and then what competencies your people need to meet those needs so that value is created for your shareholdes.” (25)

  • What is that “certain group of customers for me?” In business… in ministry… in life?
  • What are their basic needs? Not just their wants. Meeting these can drive you to bankruptcy.
  • Who is the competition?
  • What competencies do we need?

“Business is a constant process of balancing priorities, which is why the top paft of the model balances on the pinpoint vision of the company.”

Habit 1: Priorities

  • Consider the six circles as potential priorities… choose one on each side that needs the most attention at the moment. “get, keep, grow” and “better, faster, cheaper”
  • “Even though your firm may have issues within all six areas, you can only advance one of the areas on each side at a time… by giving momentum to one, you give momentum to them all.”

Habit 2: Data

  • You need metrics and measurement in all 6 areas – for example, a key measurement for marketing / business development is lead generation.

Habit 3: Rhythm

  • Daily, weekly rhythms are important.
These things feel so simple, yet as my coach Mark Sturgell has asked me, “if they’re so simple and so important, why aren’t they getting done?” I was thinking just the other day about priorities, and feel I’m getting a handle on those for this stage of life, although that may well change in two weeks. And that’s the point… it’s cyclical, ever changing, and a ride worth enjoying to it’s fullest.



Chasing Peace


Peace is one of those things that if you’re not used to it, it can drive you crazy when it’s actually present. We ask and pray for peace, and when it arrives, we freak out because we don’t really want it. We want control. We want to know what’s next. We want answers. But peace often leaves us hanging, because by it’s very nature it involves giving up control to someone or something else that is better suited to deliver.

I’m at a place in my life where I’m walking a bit of the tightrope between simply trusting God for what’s next and venturing into the unknown with His blessing. Part of the “what’s next” step must be answered by me, it must involve me stepping up, doing what’s real, hard, and necessary. On the other hand, there are pieces of it I need not venture into, either because they are up to someone else, the time is not right, or it’s simply none of my business.

Jesus can’t say it more clearly:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Rest. Easy. Light. Learn.

That’s what I want in peace. While it may involve work, I trust that the HARD work has been done. I need only obey, follow, learn, and enjoy the life God has placed before me.

Interweaving personal and business blogs

Small Biz Owners, I’m curious… if you use blogging to market your business but also love to blog / journal on the web, do you create two separate blogs, or somehow interweave them?

Last night I spent some good time in front of the TV working on some marketing brainstorming that found its way into some marketing goal planning and obstacle discovering.

My life feels like a complex interwoven web of tech, business, youth ministry and mentoring, and the occasional post about butchering chickens. It’s hard to tell where “I” end and “C2IT” begins. Do I keep my personal posts about goals and dreams separate from what I’m learning about the next thing in tech or how to build an e-commerce site that works for the small scale manufacturer? Or do I somehow interweave them, cut something out, or what?

I love to write. I love to share what other people have written. But the click-it-and-forget-it type of sharing to Facebook and Twitter seems to leave out the “permanence” factor that I like about blogs. The thing is, though, there’s a lot more people to “connect” with on those sites than hoping you get people to come to your blog or add your feed to their RSS reader.

I’m curious how you do it.

Flipping the Org Chart

I sat down with a friend that I have issues with yesterday afternoon. Yeah, issues. Got anyone like that in your life? Someone you love and care for deep down inside, but can’t seem to get along with because of personality differences, orientations of the heart, or simply a difference in opinion over the best shade of blue? Yeah, I’ve got those kind of people in my life, too. The kind you want to fight for, but in the process of fighting for, often feel like you’re fighting against. It’s hard to deal with conflict in these relationships, or even to maintain them, but in facing the conflict, I’ve found both perspective and common ground almost every time.

We got to talking about responsibility, empowerment, and authority. As we were doing so, I remembered something I heard a ways back somewhere about turning the organizational chart upside down. In most organizations, be it a business, committee, church, or even a family, power and authority start at the top and drift downward, like this:


Traditional Org Chart

Everything “hangs” from the CEO, parent, chairman, or pastor. They have power and authority, and their decisions take precedence over just about everything else… and everyone KNOWS it. The “deliverer” at the bottom of the chart knows it. He knows his paycheck is earned partly because it’s creating value for someone higher up the food chain. In many cases, he also feels like his decisions carry little weight, and that he has to “check in” with those above him to avoid stepping on toes, hurting feelings, or even losing his job. He feels belittled, stifled, and undervalued.

What would happen if we turned the org chart upside down, like this?


Flipped Org Chart

Does flipping the chart from top to bottom make any real difference? Obviously not, if that’s all you do. (especially if you don’t reorientate your fonts :)) But what if, in doing so, the point is truly communicated to all of those “deliverers” and “managers” that what they do matters. Not only are they valued and listed as important to the organization, but they are empowered. Leadership suddently becomes a source of foundational support instead of a wanna-be Pied Piper that no one really wants to follow but has no choice. Suddenly what each person does DOES affect the bottom line (or the mission, or the goal), and the bottom line affects them. While they are freed to make decisions that affect the outcome of events, they’re also made very aware that the consequenses of their actions are also “on them.” The difference, though, is that there is support from below, instead of a seeming noose hanging around the neck from above.

This is a concept foreign to many organizations. Those “in charge” often got there because of great ideas, great work, or pure luck. But it’s easy to let that go to the head and think that now that I am at the top, I am in charge and in control, when, in fact, that sense of control over the little things (the things the actually make the “big things” possible) has been delegated to those below me.

Why don’t we do what’s best for everyone and flip the chart, empower our people, and let them know that they are trusted, valued, and important?