You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2011.

There’s a common conversation that takes place in lunch rooms around the country.

It goes something like this:

“You wouldn’t believe what happened on the way to work this morning.  There are so many bad drivers these days.”

This opening statement is then picked up by others in the room who comment about those who:

  • Drive too fast/slow
  • Don’t indicate before turning/leave their indicators on after turning
  • Overtake on the inside/drive too slow in the overtaking lane
  • Park outside the lines/take too long to park their car
  • Drive too close/far away from the car in front of them
  • Ride bicycles and motorcycles or drive trucks and SUV’s
  • Are of a particular age bracket, gender or ethnicity that they generalise as bad drivers

It seems as though everyone agrees that there are a lot of bad drivers on the roads, but I’ve noticed that no-one admits that they are themselves a bad driver.

This led me to a realisation a couple of weeks ago.

We’re all bad drivers!

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Yesterday, I shared a great story that Olympic Gold Medallist Duncan Armstrong shared on Sunday at CityLife Church.  You can read that post here.

Here’s one more that I really enjoyed and wanted to share with you all.

In the lead up to the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the Australian swim team was unable to travel to South Korea in advance to familiarise themselves with the Olympic village and site of the swimming events.

However, Duncan’s ever-resourceful coach, Laurie Lawrence organised a trip for his squad to the World Expo in Brisbane, where they could check out a model scale of the Olympic city.

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This past Sunday, we had 1988 Olympic gold medallist, Duncan Armstrong share his inspiring story with our church.

He has a very powerful story about the difference that the love of God has made in his life and also shared some insights into his success as a swimmer.

One of the stories that he shared described the motivation techniques of his eccentric coach Laurie Lawrence.

When Armstrong first joined Lawrence’s squad of swimmers, he started at the bottom in lane one.

Lawrence used 6 lanes for his swimmers.  The beginners started at lane one and as they developed and improved would move up.

Lane six was the ultimate aim.  It was called the “Green and Gold Lane” because the prerequisite for joining this lane was that you had to be in the Australian squad.

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

When I was growing up, we used to go on the occasional interstate road trip as a family.

I can remember with great fondness the long drives, the regular stops to stretch the legs, the sights along the way and falling asleep to the rocking of the car, all things that I look forward to sharing with my kids in the coming years as we go on our own road trips.

Of course, in romanticising such trips, I’m choosing to ignore the inevitable “are we there yet? questions from the back seat and the undoubted arguments that the three kids will have along the way.

Having said that, road trips are a great tradition and there are a few terrific principles that we can learn from them.

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In the 2011 NBA Draft, Marquette’s Jimmy Butler was selected with pick 30 by the Chicago Bulls.

Whilst that’s the starting point for what will hopefully become a successful professional career, it all could have turned out very differently.

Without a father from an early age, Jimmy was kicked out of home by his own mother at the age of 13.  Her last words to him were, “I don’t like the look of you.  You gotta go.”

After moving from house to house, with no money, no parents and no support structure, he was eventually taken in by the Leslie family who already had 7 children of their own, but generously opened their home and hearts to Jimmy in his senior year of high school.

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We all have excuses for when we don’t achieve our goals or perform at our best.

  • Not enough time!
  • Not enough money!
  • Not educated enough!
  • Not smart enough!
  • Not old/young enough!

These are all resource issues.

However, consistently successful people don’t worry about what they do or don’t have, they do their best with what is available to them.

That’s called resourcefulness.

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Philosophers have debated for years the great question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

This question came to my mind a few days ago, quickly followed by a few similar ones:

If someone writes an amazing blog and no-one reads it, is it really that good?

If someone has a brilliant business idea that can make them millions of dollars and doesn’t act on it, is it really that brilliant?

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Sometimes as leaders, we think that it would be much easier if everyone just did what they were told without asking questions or disagreeing with us.

But then I remember that the best leaders don’t surround themselves with yes-men (or yes-women.  For the purpose of this post, please assume that yes-men is a gender neutral term), they effectively utilise people who have their own opinions, their own unique perspectives and their own techniques for getting great work done.

If you want to be a better leader who gets better results, you don’t want yes-men.

You want people around you who: Read the rest of this entry »

Cocoon on the pokok Hempedu Bumi (Andrographis...

Image via Wikipedia

I shared this story at church yesterday.

There was a caterpillar who had gorged himself on leaves and then made a nice, comfortable cocoon out of silk and twigs.

Then, when it was time to break out of the cocoon, he refused to budge.

A voice came from outside of the cocoon, “It’s time to come out now.”

No response.

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Rapport building is a valuable skill for virtually any profession.

Whether you’re a leader, work in sales or customer service or any role where you are in regular contact with new people, being able to build rapport will make you more effective and influential in your role.

I had the chance to share a few thoughts about this skill with some church volunteers recently and thought that I would share these tips with you as well.  Most of them are just common sense, but sometimes we need little reminders (I know that I do) of what to do.

Here are my five tips for building rapport.

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