A New Adventure!

HFF_Logo_squareWhy a farm?

Can’t tell you how many times we’ve been asked that very question. Sometimes when people ask why a farm, you can tell they’re thinking we must be crazy. (There have been days when we thought we might be crazy as well!) Others will ask and then be very supportive and encouraging in their response.

When my position at LifeWay Christian Resources was deleted this past July, starting a farm was not on our list of potential job options. However, over time, as other doors closed or never opened, we began to think/pray more and more about the possibility of a farm.

I’ve always enjoyed having a garden and we got our first chickens almost 2 years ago. On top of that, we downsized to our current home on 5 acres back in February, thinking this would be where we would retire, have a bigger garden and maybe a few farm animals. Little did we know how much sooner retirement was headed our way!

Now that we’ve started down the road of becoming small farm owner/operators, we are excited and looking forward to the future. One of the things we are most excited about is getting to know our customers and having them join us on the farm. We want people to know where their food is coming from, while at the same time, building new friendships. Check us out at Hill Family Farm and feel free to join us as we walk this new road!

Friday’s Wrap Up

Here are 4 articles I came across this week I thought could be helpful. Hopefully you’ll find at least one nugget to help you grow as a leader.

7 Dumb Manager Mistakes – Darryl Rosen

According to a recent CareerBuilder poll, 58% of managers received NO training before starting the job.  Of course, even smart, well-trained managers make dumb mistakes. However, the difference between dumb managers and smart ones is that smart managers notice when their salespeople are unmotivated and their workers are uninspired. Smart managers work at making small behavioral changes, one step at a time, to correct common management mistakes that are having a negative impact on their and their team members’ performance. (Read full article)

30 Ways Your Business Should Leverage Social Media This Year – Daniel Mbure

Social media is big in business circles and every business is scrambling to implement social media strategies to take advantage of this new opportunity. If your business is not already on the social media bandwagon, you still have time to create a social media strategy and start getting social. (Read full article)

Inspire People To Change – Paul Thornton

Leaders not only challenge us but also inspire us to take action. Some leaders post quotes in their office as reminders to inspire themselves and others. Here are a few examples. (Read full article)

Yes…You Can Be Creative! – Mark Miller

I’m amazed how many leaders I encounter who say, “I’m not creative.” When I hear this, it actually energizes me, because EVERY human being on the planet has the seeds of creativity within them. After studying and practicing the disciplines of creativity for over 30 years, I’ve concluded that the realization of this untapped potential is only three steps away. (Read full article)

Friday’s Wrap Up

Top 10 Excuses for Being a Lousy Manager – Dan McCarthy

Throughout the course of my career in leadership development, I’ve had the opportunity to confront, counsel, and console a lot of bad managers. The majority of these bad managers were not really bad people. In fact, once you got to know them, they could be sincere, caring, and down to earth. Many of them, when confronted with evidence that their management skills were less than ideal, were shocked. Don’t let that happen to you! Like they say, perception is reality. Or, if you’ve been called a jerk by more than three people recently, maybe you’re acting like a jerk. (Read full story)

3 Tips For The Overworked Leader – Mark Miller

I’ve come to realize a totally counterintuitive truth: the less you do, the more you accomplish. So, for almost a decade, I’ve been trying to be more effective by doing less. Let me quickly add that on any given day or during any given season, I fail miserably. When this happens, my impact decreases. While I continue to work on the issue, here are 3 ideas that are helping me today. (Read full article)

Getting the Most From Live Events: A Guide for Attendees, Hosts & Participants – HubSpot Blog

There are thousands of conferences every year, and thousands of opportunities for attendees, exhibitors, speakers and conference planners to benefit from these events. However, most of these chances are lost in the chaos of an event and the post-conference wrap-up. (Read full article)
Negative Brainstorming Offers an Alternative Problem-solving Method – Kevin Dwyer
Leaders can come up with better solutions to problems through a technique known as “negative brainstorming,” in which a problem-solving team brainstorms for ways to make the stated problem worse. The output from this brainstorm is then taken and explored to see if any new ideas for a solution are suggested by thinking about how to eliminate the things which make the problem worse. … Negative brainstorming is usually more focused than regular brainstorming and the solutions become self-obvious. (Read full article)


What Would You Do?

Dan McCarthy authors a blog dedicated to leadership development called Great Leadership. Recently he posted a series of questions and scenarios and asked people to repost and respond.

As a result, I decided to try something a little different with 4 of the manager dilemmas he included. Below are the 4, but I am not going to spell out how I would respond. Instead I would like to start an ongoing discussion in the comment section below.

Here are the 4 scenarios:

  • Two of your employees come to you with a complaint about another one of your employees. You’ve never personally observed the behavior they are complaining about. Do you confront the employee? If so, do you mention the complaints?
  • Your manager congratulates you for a brilliant suggestion and hints at a promotion. One of your employees gave you the idea. Do you mention this to the manager? Your manager is upset because the sales forecast you gave has errors. You delegated the forecast to one of your sales reps. Do you blame her?
  • Is it ever OK for a manager to be friends with their employees?
  • You’ve accidentally been given access to your employee’s email accounts. You see your name in the subject line of several emails. Do you peek?

So, you’re the manager…how do you respond?

5 Steps Towards Becoming A Better Manager

I recently came across a new year’s resolution post entitled “Resolve To Be A Better Manager” that I thought was interesting (read here). The article listed 12 things a manager should focus on in the new year. Of the 12, the following 5 have served me well over the years:

  • Get to know your employees – As a leader it’s important for your employees to know that you are interested in them, who they are, not just what can they do for you. Take time to get to know ’em. You’ll find it time well spent.
  • Treat your employees how you would like to be treated – The Golden Rule definitely applies here. I’m not talking about how you manage them (as that could be different from how you like to be managed), but instead, how you treat them. Do you like to be treated with courtesy and respect? Odds are pretty good your employees do as well.
  • Say “please” and “thank you” – It never ceases to amaze me when I see managers ordering their people around, without any hint of politeness. Yes, it’s part of a manager’s job to tell their people what to do…but that doesn’t mean you can’t be polite about it. “Please” and “thank you” can go a long way to helping you get things done.
  • Be consistent – This is one I sometimes struggle with. Employees want a manager who’s going to be consistant day to day. Be consistent in how you treat everyone as this will establish expectations and define acceptable behavior.
  • Think before you hit “send” – Have you ever gotten mad and fired off a less than polite email or text to an employee? I know I have…and I usually end up regretting it. The trick is to think about it before you click the send button. Many times I will type it and then leave it for awhile. Once I’ve calmed down, I’ll go back to the email and most times change it before I send it. At the very least, the delay gives me time to remove the anger and/or frustration (see #2).

What other steps would you recommend managers take?

Friday’s Wrap Up

A mix of articles this week. Leadership, Twitter ninjas and customer service are all covered. If you have any involvement in selling to Millennials, then I definitely recommend you take time to read the survey results in this first article. Very enlightening.

Millennials Trust People Over Brands – Bazaarvoice

Millennials will have more spending power than any other generation by 2017. According to new a study released by Bazaarvoice, Millennials shop in a whole new way from previous generations. The study finds that while all generations trust opinions of other consumers over brand messages, Millennials are far more dependent on these opinions when making purchases and unlike their forebears, are just as likely to rely on the experiences of strangers they consider “people like them” as trusted friends and family. (Read full story)

Bringing Out The Best In Guests, Brings Out The Best In Frontline Colleagues – Doug Kennedy

Make it your team’s job to turn things around for guests at the end of their long journeys or stressful and tiring travel experiences.  Not only will it make for a brighter day for the guests, but your staff will end up meeting many more cheerful and smiling guests throughout their day.  The little things that hospitality professionals do every day mean so much to those on the other side. (Read full story)

Leadership And The Art Of The Alley-Oop – Blake Atwood

If leadership is helping someone else achieve a goal, there is no better metaphor than the alley-oop. In a few pulse-pounding seconds, the lessons fly at you like a blocked ball swatted five rows deep. (Read full story)

How To Survive A Meeting With The CEO – Dan McCarthy

Most employees NEVER get to have a meeting with the CEO of their company. So if you do, it’s a one-shot deal that you don’t want to  screw up. After all, exposure is a double-edged sword, and many CEOs and senior executives have short attention spans but long memories. (Read full story)

How To Become A Twitter Ninja In Less Than 30 Minutes A Day – Michael Hyatt

Twitter is one of key tools in my platform toolbox. It represents about 21 percent of my blog referral traffic. In terms of the return, I don’t know of a better investment. Yet, I spend less than thirty minutes a day on Twitter. I don’t know where else I could impact that many people with so little effort. The key is using the right strategy and the right tools. Here’s what my daily routine looks like, Monday through Friday. (Read full story)

5 Simple Acts Of Courageous Leadership

What comes to mind when you think of courageous leadership? I’ve always been a military history buff (especially WW II history), so my mind typically goes there when I think about courage and leadership.

While most of us will never be called on to lead troops into battle, all of us can take steps to make ourselves better leaders. Whether it be at work, home or church, here are 5 simple acts of courageous leadership we can all do:

  1. Speak up – Don’t be afraid to speak the truth, even when there may be negative consequences. It’s pretty easy to speak up when you’re surrounded by people who agree with you, but what do you do if that’s not the case? Do you keep quiet and avoid the risk, or do you stand up for what you know to be true?
  2. Give critical feedback – Are you willing to give critical feedback to your boss, even if you know he/she won’t like it?
  3. Shut up – Just the opposite of #1. Be willing to shut up and hear others out, even when you’re convinced you’re right.
  4. Receive critical feedback – Again, the opposite of #2. I don’t know about you, but I know I don’t always have all the right answers. That’s why, as a leader, I try to surround myself with good people not afraid to speak their minds. What kind of leader would I be if I then turned around and didn’t listen when those same good people provide me with less than positive feedback?
  5. Be kind – How do you treat those who disagree with you? In today’s world people are way too quick to be hostile towards and cut down those they disagree with. If I see you as inferior in some way, then you can’t possibly be right and I don’t have to listen to anything you have to say. Unfortunately that other person won’t listen to anything you have to say either. Instead, be kind and maybe you’ll each learn a little something from the other.

 Notice I said simple, not necessarily easy. Leadership really isn’t rocket science. Focus on the basics, do them well and then don’t be surprised when people follow.

What would you consider to be another act of courageous leadership?

Friday’s Wrap Up

Why A Silent Customer Can Be Deadly – MarketingProfs

Never assume a customer who doesn’t complain is a happy customer. According to a Bain & Co. survey, major companies typically lose half of their customers over a five-year period. “Notice it wasn’t ‘one-year’ or ‘suddenly,'” writes Sean D’Souza at True You Marketing. “Customers have a tipping point. They get unhappy bit by bit and then it’s camel-back-breaking time. So, if you think that all your customers are happy with you – they aren’t.” (Read full story)

Don’t Be “That Guy” As A Manager – Dan McCarthy

It’s easy to spot the obvious “that guy” managers when it’s someone else – it’s the Michael Scotts, the Pointy Haired Bosses from Dilbert, and the stars of the recent movie “Horrible Bosses”. However, given our general lack of behavioral self-awareness, it’s a lot harder to see it in ourselves. But have no fear – take the following Great Leadership “Are you that guy manager” quiz to find out if you have any of the tell-tale signs: (Read full story)

3 Actions You Can Take Now To Shift Your Emotional State – Michael Hyatt

There was a time when I thought I couldn’t change my attitude. I viewed myself as the victim of mysterious forces that shaped my emotional state. It never occurred to me that I could shift it—almost instantly. (Read full story)

How To Find A Business Mentor – Rene D. Petrin

While a formal mentoring relationship – meaning one that takes place in a monitored program within an organization – is the ideal, sometimes an informal mentoring relationship is what’s available. The question is how do you go about making it happen? (Read full story)

Following Gabrielle Giffords’ BRAVE Leadership – George Brandt

We are witnessing an amazing tale of overcoming adversity unfolding in real time. We all know the story of how Gabrielle Giffords was one of thirteen people injured, while six others were killed, in gunfire a year ago. We all have seen the stories of the miraculous care she received at the scene, at the hospital, and since then. We all have a sense of how her family and friends have rallied around her. It’s terrific. (Read full story)

7 Tips For Handling Stress – Ron Edmonson

Stress is all around us. Every day I encounter burned out and stressed out pastors. Regardless of your career, it appears life is more stressful than ever. (Read full story)

I Think You May Want To Try This

When most people think of food service at Ridgecrest, they only think of the dining hall. This is not real surprising since that’s where the great majority of folks have their meals while on campus. And while the food in the dining hall is quite good, sometimes needing to serve 2,000 in 90 minutes prevents our food service team from showing off their more creative side.

This is where our catering department comes in. Unfortunately they are one of the best kept secrets at Ridgecrest. These guys do an awesome job with banquets, breaks, receptions and just about any other catering request a group may have and we want folks to get a taste of what they do.

So…this is the first of a new series of posts called “Ridgecrest Recipes”, in which I will highlight some of our most popular catering offerings. Of course we realize that most of you are not cooking for 50 or more friends so we’re giving you the home version. Hopefully making it easier for all of you to try them out.

Rutland Chicken

  • 8, 4-6 oz. boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 pkg. Pioneer beef gravy mix (or make 2 cups of your own recipe)
  • orange juice
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

 Marinate chicken in dressing for 4 hours.  Prepare beef gravy, substituting half the water with orange juice. Heat heavy cream with nutmeg, on low heat, until thickened, being careful not to scorch.   Char-grill chicken and top with orange-brown sauce.  Drizzle with white sauce and serve. Serves eight

Enjoy and then let me know what you think!

Friday’s Wrap Up

Each week I read a good number of articles related to leadership, business and the hotel industry. Some of which I tweet links to, but most I just file away. Beginning this week I plan to list short blurbs from 4-6 of the ones I think may be of interest to you and let you decide if you’d like to read the entire article. Hopefully you’ll find at least one of them helpful to you each week.

Communications 3.0 – Drew Goodmanson

With the growth of the web, new forms of communication are becoming dominant. Technology’s growth creates behavioral and organizational change in deep ways. These changes require your organization to communicate and interact with people in new and different ways. (Read full story.)

How To Get New Employees On Board – Darren Dahl

“Up to 25 percent of new hires leave their job in the first 12 months and more than 50 percent of new hires disappoint management within their first year on the job,” says Tom Armour, cofounder of High Return Selection, a human resources consulting company in Toronto. (Read full story)

How To Disagree At Meetings In A Positive & Productive Way – Matthew E. May

How many times have you sat in a meeting thinking, “This is all wrong”? How many times have you disagreed with something, but not spoken up, for fear of making waves, rocking the boat, holding things up or being viewed as the naysayer? How many times have you wanted to disagree but were afraid to in front of others? And how many times have you left the meeting upset at yourself for not speaking your mind? (Read full story)

11 Ways Mobile Technology Could Change Hotel Experience – Frank Wolfe

In such a short amount of time, mobile technology has changed the way that the world does just about everything. There’s no doubt about it; smart mobile devices are dictating how we live our lives. (Read full story)

10 Mistakes Leaders Should Avoid At All Costs – Enrique P. Fiallo

No one is perfect. No one can be right 100% of the time (even if you are Jack Welch or Steve Jobs), including an organization’s leaders. But there are mistakes, and then there are MISTAKES. (Read full story)

Well, that’s it for this week. What do you think? Is this something I should continue to do each week?