What We Can Learn from Tom Brady and the Patriots

I am not a Patriots fan. But I appreciate what they have accomplished.

Let’s start with Tom Brady. He re-negotiates his contract down every year. Making 14m/yr (against the cap, actual cash guaranteed was only 1m) instead of 24m/yr is the difference in the Patriots always having 2-3 more fundamental pieces. This is a part of their success.

Now, don’t feel sorry for Tom Brady he has received guaranteed bonuses and with endorsements, he is doing alright. But the question on everyone’s mind is always…why doesn’t my quarterback do this? If Flacco was a $14m hit instead of $24.5m, would they have had the one or two pieces that could have got them over the hump and into the playoffs? The answer is trust. Tom Brady isn’t just selfless.

Star players would be tempted to do this more but they are essentially making a 50-100m investment and bet in their front office. That is a LOT to gamble that the front office isn’t going to make a boneheaded move. But Brady trusts Bellichick and Kraft implicitly on this and it has paid off. Seven Super Bowls and five championships later and you see that this bond is the glue that holds their organization together.

There is a lesson in this for leaders. Does your team seem to want to soak every nickel out of your organization? That might be a “you” problem not a them problem. When employees sacrifice salary for other things (winning culture, fulfillment, benefits) they are making a bet on someone other than themselves.

I have been a part of winning cultures where shared sacrifice for a winning goal meant that money was just the cherry on top. I have also been a part of cultures where money was THE thing to paste over the misery.

You might have “greedy” employees or you might have a culture problem. There may be somethings to learn from the Patriots in this regard.

The Rule of Five for Relationships

The Evangelical Christian community has become increasingly alarmed in recent years by numerous studies that show that young people are not staying in the church once they reach age 18. The folks at stickyfaith.org did a study of 500 youth groups and found that the greatest indicator of a youth staying was the formative relationships with adults in the church. With the operative tipping point number being five.

Source

Now, most people don’t care about the demographic crisis in the church. That is fine. That isn’t the point. What we should care about is the perpetual loyalty in our relationships. And it is worth noting that even in an area with as strong a pull as religion, if there is not a multi-touch relational basis there is no loyalty.

There is a rule here that I have heeded when it comes to organizational relationships and loyalty that I find consistent. When we have at least five formative relationships within an organization, brand, or even family, we are less likely to leave and our buy-in is much higher. Which means that I cannot horde or collect relationships to be ultimately successful. I have to promote community in my relationships.

The “Rule of Five” is not a magic number of relationships your organization should strive to achieve. It is a mindset that when applied will greatly help any organization build loyalty and cohesion within your teams and customers.

What are you doing to encourage multiple relationships with your customers, not just one siloed person to handle the account?

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have sales managers or field coordinators handle individual accounts. But it does mean that to engender loyalty the you must answer the question, “How many people does this customer know at our organization or who uses our organization’s products?” And the answer shouldn’t be one or two. Nobody likes to be on an island. And hoarding those relationships may help in the short term but you risk losing your relationships to a more relational community.

What are you doing to encourage multiple relationships among your team members?

Obviously, the most important part of work is the work. But isolated team members are a ticking time bomb. Do they really feel a part of the team? For non-profits this goes for volunteers as well. Having multiple connection points turns your group into a team not just a fan club. Leaders and organizations who are fan clubs risk great existential crisis when the leader fails or mistakes are made.

What are you doing in your kids’ lives to encourage meaningful relationships with adults?

Grounding our kids in a culture of mentorship will pay dividends for them later on. In today’s society, we care too much about socialization as it happens with a child’s peer group. Peer interaction is great but I want my children to be mentored and to hold formative relationships with their elders. And NOT just mom and dad. But five likeminded adults.

It is vitally important if you are shifting from the transactional to the relational that you don’t try to horde relationships but encourage interaction. Embracing the “Rule of Five” mindset is a great step in that direction. Encouraging community relinquishes control but engenders loyalty which is much more powerful in the long run for both you and those you are relating to.

Crosspost

Yes. We Give. And That Is Not A Bad Thing.

Christmastime.

A season full of wonderful traditions: carols, trees, lights, the nativity, Christmas plays, and self-righteous losers trying to convince us that Jesus would hate modern Christmas.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is plenty that Jesus probably hates about the modern church (self-righteous losers probably at the top) but modern Christmas isn’t one of them.

Yet. Every year there are the obligatory articles of how bad of Christians we are if we dare give gifts or emphasize them. That doesn’t even cover the Facebook rants and Tweets.

Ironically, it is some of the same Christians who love socialism and every social justice issue under the sun, even support taking down town nativities and not singing traditional carols in the name of the first amendment, who HATE modern Christmas.

I don’t buy their ideology.

And neither should you.

The reason is clear, Jesus Christ has quite an impact on our society through the celebration of his birth.

  1. 31% of annual charitable contributions are made in December.
  2. People’s giving in November and December spurs retailers to a positive financial outcome.
  3. This aids our entire economy.

And all of this because people are giving OTHER people gifts. Yes, there are other reasons and holidays that attribute to these but there is no doubt that selflessness in the name of Christ spurs economic and non-profit growth. And the epitome of this is at Christmastime.

Seems to me this is something that should be celebrated. Not shunned.

 

 

Rejoice So That You May Weep

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

With various Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook offerings this season, it is always tempting for our covetous voice to come out.

Mr. Jealousy tends to pop his head up as we look at families all put together while we are covered in kid puke and haven’t seen a shower in three days.

It happens.

But, this time a year is a also a powerful opportunity.

In relationships, there is no neutral. We are either growing together or drifting apart. Nothing causes drifting faster than jealousy. The sad truth is that you don’t want to be associated with those you are jealous of. But there is hope.

I teach my kids Romans 12:15 on a regular basis. When you have six kids, there are going to be times when one kids gets something or gets to experience something the other kids don’t. Of course choruses of “that’s not fair” always ring out. But these cries are only masks for pure jealousy. Much like in real life. IF you ever find yourself screaming about “fairness,” chances are you are just covetous and jealous. (There is a decided difference between fairness and justice.)

So, in my household, we obey Romans 12:15. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. Your sister gets a new toy? Rejoice! Because she is rejoicing! Your sister falls and bumps her head? Weep. Because she is weeping.

If this seems like common sense, you may be asking how does this apply to my life? Too often we do not rejoice when our friend rejoice. We see photos of Hawaii and hide them in our timeline. We see photos of a clean house and grumble about how they must have a maid helping them out. We here of a CEO getting a bonus, an NFL player getting a new contract, or any other good news…and we grumble and complain.

Don’t believe me?

Just read the butthurt posts on, what otherwise, would be happy occasions. Valentine’s Day? Have you not considered your single friends’ feelings. Mother’s Day? What about all those who have not been able to conceive? Independence Day? What about those who aren’t free?

Let me be VERY clear. If other people’s happiness causes you butthurt. That says more about you than it does about others. More importantly, about your attitude. We have all felt pain or hurt. Yes, this pain is real. But when it comes to those we are friends with…we need to rejoice when they rejoice. Because friends you have to hide happiness from…are not going to be friends for long.

And therein lies the problem. Because there are two parts to that scripture. And we can only provide comfort to someone in their grief…if we are friends to begin with. How does that work? My wife and I have experienced losing a child through miscarriage. What if shortly thereafter, friends of ours found out they were pregnant? What if we chose not to rejoice when they rejoice because of the painful memories it wrought? What if they, then, experienced a miscarriage?

The important truth of this scripture is that we cannot minister to those in their times of grief if we are not, first, there in their times of rejoicing. This dichotomy is present in many relationships. Being there in the good times enables us to minister in the bad times.

So, this Holiday season…let’s REJOICE when other’s REJOICE!

So that we may be there to weep when they must weep.

To the Victor Goes the #SpoilerAlert

Instant news.

Instant analysis.

You are never out of the loop.

Your favorite show you DVR’d just got spoiled.

Ok, so social media isn’t all good. And yes, some people are inconsiderate with their spoilers. But some people are just too sensitive. I am binge-watching The Wire. I didn’t watch it during its original run. Should I be upset if someone spoils it? In 2014? No.

Listen. Binge-watching is here to stay. And services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have made cutting the cable or satellite service practical and even popular. But there certain risks you assume when you consume your media through these services…and spoilers are one of them. IF you have a “right” to enjoy your show unspoiled…don’t those of us who aren’t three years behind entitled to our being able to share our joy with co-workers and friends on the internet? Yes.

So, here are some rules that I feel should be adopted by all man-kind regarding spoilers. Of course, these should be amended and added to…feel free to do so in the comments. Any comment which receives a second and enough response will make it into the rules. Let’s make this conformity happen!

1. Spoiler-Alerts

1.1 Useage

1.1.1 Twitter

When tweeting a spoiler. Use #Spoiler or #SpoilerAlert at the beginning of the Tweet along with the show’s appropriate hashtag or Twitter denomination. That way, anyone who sees your Tweet in your timeline…can opt not to view it in its entirety.

IE. #SpoilerAlert #HouseOfCards #FU is bad.

1.1.2 Facebook

When your status update includes a spoiler. Annotate it as such at the beginning to include the show. Press enter a couple times, that way someone can choose to read your spoiler or not.

A better rule is to state something generic. “Scandal tonight…wow! Discuss in the comments” Then, IF someone wants to see what the fuss is about…they can…click to the comments…

1.1.3 General Rules of Thumb

If you live in the eastern time zone…understand that the Pacific/Mountain folks haven’t even watched it yet. Don’t be a jerk. It won’t kill you to discuss the show in the comments…or wait a couple hours. Or until the following day.

Bottomline…don’t be a jerk. IF someone tells you they are behind on a show…don’t spoil. It is in bad taste.

When in a discussion, in person, it is polite to inquire whether the person has, indeed, consumed or plans to consume the medium. Again…don’t be a jerk.

1.2 Exemptions

1.2.1 Shows that are dropped all at once (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, etc.) have a watch cycle of at least 1 month.

1.2.1.1 House of Cards’ current season needs to be watched by March 15 (The Ides of March). After such time, no spoiler-alert is necessary.

1.2.2 Network TV shows have a watch cycle of 1 week.

1.2.3 Movies have a watch cycle of 1 year.

2. Spoilers

2.1 Definition

A spoiler is significant information which indicates a major plot point in a film, TV show, or book which would “spoil” the experience.

Making a joke about a general theme in a show is NOT a spoiler, it is a joke.

Saying something that was in a movie trailer…NOT a spoiler.

Saying something you HOPE happens…NOT a spoiler.

I know what happens to “X” character…NOT a spoiler. via Jim Treacher (@jtLOL)

An Era of Faux Outrage

What does it say about our culture that we thrive on faux outrage?

What does it say about our culture that we actually seem to enjoy being offended?

What does it say about our lack of humanity that we openly look for things that spite us?

 

I touched a little on this in my post on conviction…but it just seems that for all the good that social media has wrought, it has become a breeding ground for pure. unadulterated. hate. Not just dislike (ironic for a site that only has like buttons). Hate.

But not just any kind of hate.

Faux hate. Faux outrage.

And this faux outrage happens everywhere and in every corner.

Here are a couple examples:

1. The case of the most offensive tweet EVER!

Spaghettios

 

This is a tweet which SpaghettiOs tweeted on December 7th. It sparked an outrage. I mean I haven’t seen so much righteous indignation over a nothing-burger since J.R. got shot.

Why was everyone upset? Because a spaghettiO carrying an American flag was a severe sign of disrespect to those who died. For me? It got a shrug. But whatever.

2. What the Duck did he say?

Ok. We all know what happened. Phil Robertson paraphrased Corinthians. He also spouted his rendition of “Hail to the V.”

And…the faux outrage flowed.

I had friends disavowing Duck Dynasty. And of course, the opposite of faux outrage is outrage at the faux outrage. So, many of us were defending the Robertson’s as well.

So…what did it all accomplish? Well… A&E got bit hard by the faux suspension they levied. Turns out that corporations cannot get away with faux outrage, they only get creamed by it.

3. Thugs R Us

Last but not least. Last night, Richard Sherman had…um…an interesting interview with Erin Andrews.

Now. There is TONS of outrage over this. Why? I don’t, for the life of me, understand. Did he curse? No. Did he use inflammatory language? No.

But, he is called a thug and much much worse on Twitter. It is actually pretty disgusting.

Here is the, pretty vanilla, twitchy post on this. But you see the outrage. I have no doubt people will be rooting for the Broncos because they “hate” this guy.

My thoughts? You don’t want a testosterone filled interview…how about NOT interview him two minutes after he made a HUGE play that got his team to the Super Bowl! Don’t even get me started on the stupidity of these interviews in the first place…but really? Where is the outrage over this?

To my larger point and the questions at the top. Why are we so prone to outrage? I don’t think that this is anything new. But I do think these things are wider spread. And I think there is something embedded in us that we love to be the critic. We love to tear a part. It is the devil in us. If we aren’t prone to tearing down our own lives…we are invested in the destruction in others.

THIS is the antithesis of the Gospel. A doctrine in which we come together and understand that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. BUT Christ died that we might be saved!

We don’t deserve grace.

But He gave it to us anyway.

So, the next time we want to let our inner rage flag fly…let us take a time to remember grace. Squash our inner demons and let our better angels shine through. We often spout the golden rule to our children to break up fights and to warn them not to hit their siblings or playmates…but then we go online with the intent to destroy. We don’t want our dreams destroyed. Our posts eviscerated. We spout niceties like “don’t judge” but alas we aren’t even satisfied with judging…we want summary executions. We want heads to roll. We. Want. Blood.

In a society in which darkness feels more real. Is there not a place for light and grace?

Look at your own timeline. Is it mostly negative or positive? What are you portraying? Light or darkness?

The Evolution of a Lie: An Improper View of Masculinity

First things first. I believe that one’s sexuality is chosen, i.e. one’s sexual actions are within their control. While who we are attracted to maybe innate, acting on those attractions is a choice. (I have always been attracted to blondes. I married a brunette. Guess what attraction I am no longer permitted to act on…)

This post is meant as an admonishment of the church and our failure to curb what I view as an epidemic of children choosing what sexuality they identify with before they even are old enough for serious adult decisions. It is also an admonishment of those who just stand by and “approve” of these choices because it is the politically correct thing to do. Same sex attraction is not a sin. Acting on that attraction or allowing that to define your very existence is.

What prompted this post was a post by Rachel Held Evans on child sexuality:

But it reminded me of one important, reality-based fact: Most people begin to recognize their sexual orientation when they are just kids, when they are young and vulnerable like this little girl.

My dislike for Rachel Held Evans is well documented. She is a very talented writer who is also a post-modern thinker. She believes in Christ, in as much as she has stated that. But she does not preach Christian thought. She preaches a moralistic therapeutic deism. Frankly, she should start her own “christ-centered” religion instead of co-opting Christianity. But it helps her sell books, get likes-clicks-shares, and she is a prominent voice in the modern church. So it works for her.

That said. Her “reality-based fact” is hardly so. It is a perception. It is fed by stereotypes. It is grossly wrong.

I have always been creative. Writing stories. Writing songs. Creating music. Putting on a show. It has always been in my DNA. When I was younger I took figure skating lessons because I was in Canada and my family couldn’t afford hockey equipment. My favorite color is purple. (Why? My dad’s was red. My mom’s was blue. And I understood a color-wheel)

I love the theatre and Broadway (Don’t even get me started on Mary Poppins, the London cast versus the New York cast). I sang in choir. I rocked speech/debate. I didn’t develop a strong affinity for sports until later in life.

According to our current culture I should have embraced my “sexuality” at a young age. I was bullied when I was younger because of my “lack of manliness.” I was never good at fighting, but I have always been excellent at killing someone with my words and sarcasm.  But this is where the evolution of a lie happens. You see. I love women…now. But when I was in 3rd grade and 4th grade girls are pulling my pants down at recess to “experiment” on me, I can’t say that the whole sexual thing appealed to me. Of course, I wasn’t gay…I hadn’t even experienced puberty yet. But the evolution of a lie told me that I was not normal. That is what the devil does. That is what the over-sexualized culture tells us. I was nine years old…I wasn’t supposed to even like girls yet. But when you see Magnum PI enjoying getting in the shower with a woman. Shouldn’t you enjoy it too?

And that is where the words of Rachel Held Evans are damaging. And where we really fail as a church sometimes. As a church, we have to be willing to address and have the conversation. Especially in a culture where an eleven year old boy can make a YouTube video “coming out” and be treated like a rockstar. I have never seen a culture not only willing to jump into hell but so good at cheering on others willing to do so.

Take a look at the pro gay anthem by Macklemore, Same Love:

When I was in the 3rd grade I thought that I was gay. Cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight. I told my mom, tears rushing down my face..

She’s like, “Ben, you’ve loved girls since before Pre-K!” Tripping, yeah, I guess she had a point, didn’t she? A bunch of stereotypes all in my head.

What would Rachel’s response have been? Don’t worry. God made you that way so I love you. And she would help feed the lie.

Before we can address the lie we have to know what the lie is.

The lie is two-fold.

1. That a man who loves theatre, draws, or sings isn’t manly.

This is what we call a stereotype. And creativity and being artsy has nothing to do with sexuality and everything with being who God has created us to be. God, as creator, created beautiful things. Beautiful songs. Wondrous talent. King David, best known by secularists for his inappropriate love of women, was also an artist who the Bible describes as ruddy. Don’t know what that is? Fair skinned. Not exactly a manly descriptor. But he was a man after God, the Creator’s heart. He probably still didn’t wear pink though. But you get the point.

2. That our sexuality should be our identity.

Imagine if the best descriptor of me was that I prefer sex with women. That was it. That was the end all/be all of my identity. Nothing else was prominent enough.

God created sex. It is wonderful. When a man and wife have sex, it is the closest and most vulnerable they will be with each other. They know each other. This knowledge is deep and profound. But it is used to create life not an identity.

I talked earlier about how the church does a poor job of talking about abstinence in our culture.

But, as a church, when we accept these two lies, we help the evolution of the lie.

When we adopt Rachel Held Evans’ viewpoint. We help to feed it.

So, what do we need to do? Embrace truth not run from it.

When our sons and daughters ask us questions about sexuality, we need to be prepared with truth. Instead of freaking out, we need to understand what is really being asked.

Why don’t I fit in?

A child who doesn’t have a sexual thought at 10 is asking about why they aren’t normal or why they don’t fit in. They are looking for answers. The truth is that at one point or another none of us fit in right. It is the awkwardness of dealing with other humans. As adults, we experience the same problems.

I don’t understand my thoughts?

Our mind is a weird place. We think a lot of weird and bizarre things. But thinking doesn’t mean we have to act. In fact, there are a lot of internal battles in our conscience that we have to control. That process is a part of growing up as well.

Something happened I don’t know how to explain or talk about?

Whether they happened on a pornographic website. Or were molested by a family member, friend, or playmates. Somethings are hard for a child to digest. And there are a lot of people in the gay community who have deep pain from a robbing of their innocence. We have to understand that we live in an evil world and evil people like easy targets. That is why they prey on our young.

God has not called us to sin. He has not created us to run afoul of his laws. And we control our actions.

So, let’s speak truth to the lies.

And let’s speak that truth in love.

And let’s embrace the fact that God is a Creator. And a man who is a creator is not automatically afoul of God’s law. In fact, we can harness that in the church. The church used to be the place where creativity reigned. Where art and theatre were financed. We have lost that, to much cultural detriment I might add.

And most importantly we should never let our sin be our identity. Because it is never our identity to Jesus.

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