Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Efficient, Effective, Excellent!

I have been thinking lately about how my organization can function better, and even how other organizations can function better. As I was considering this last night (early this morning), these three words kept surfacing in the ocean of my thoughts: efficient, effective, excellent.

Taken separately, each one has its place and purpose in an organization. As each person becomes more efficient in their tasks and responsibilities, the organization functions with streamlined effort and maximum productivity.

But limiting functionality to simply doing things right does not leave room for influence, whether it be in personal relationships, within the community in which an organization is placed, or within the culture that we live.

Instead of doing things right (being efficient), we can consider doing the right thing (being effective). This elevates what we do to a much more purposeful endeavor, moving us beyond simply doing what's expected to doing what's important.

If we want to add another dimension to both being efficient and effective, we can consider excellence: using the tools, energies, creativity and wisdom that we've been given to make what we do the very best. I am not advocating perfectionism, but rather doing things that exceed expectations, including our own.

So whether we are seeking to be efficient: to make things run smooth and get the job done, or we are seeking to be effective: doing the things that will influence those around us, we can always move to the next level by seeking to be excellent!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Batman: The $158 Million Superhero

I guess you have heard by now that the new Batman movie "The Dark Night" took in a record $158.4 million in its opening weekend, making it the highest grossing movie opening in history. This "historical event" has raised some questions in my mind.

Allow me to share a few of these questions without comment (although the questions themselves are motivated by my comments). I invite you to respond or comment yourself at the end of this post.

What would motivate the American public to spend $158 million on a comic-book character's movie?

With gas sitting at about $4 a gallon and the public outcry about it getting louder, why was so much spent on this celluloid creation? (Maybe there were an extraordinary number of car-poolers at the multiplex.)

Were people exercising their voyeuristic tendencies by watching the now deceased Heath Ledger act in his final role?

Are the members of our society looking for a hero, a villain, or a police commissioner to identify with?

Is our collective culture seeking to find some kind of heroic rescue from their own personal Gotham Cities?


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fight For Affection!

This morning as I was running I heard quite a commotion coming from overhead. I noticed a couple of male Goldfinches chasing each other in the air. I also noticed a female Goldfinch flying in the general area of the "fight". (My wife, an avid "birder", has taught me how to tell the males from the females - without turning them over...)

What I figured out was this: the two males were fighting for the affection of the female. It was quite a spectacle. I realized that this was a characteristic in the animal kingdom that used to exist among humans (maybe it's still active in some cultures).

How much do we "fight" for the affection of our spouses, children and significant people in our lives? Once we have "tied the knot", do we live by the "I've got her, now I can relax" mindset?

We need to continue to show that we would fight for our spouses affection, our children's attention and our friend's consideration. We can't take for granted that they will follow us, support us and be led by us.

We need to create a commotion and fight!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Living In A Fishbowl

This post may not be what the title implies to you. It's not about living in a place where everyone sees your every move. But rather it is an entirely different thought.

My wife and I recently had the privilege of traveling to South Florida and to Mexico. While we were there, we decided to try our hand at snorkeling. I must say, it was an entirely exhilarating experience!

When I was a teenager I snorkeled some in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida's east coast. But that was when I was young, in a hurry, and wasn't into appreciating the natural beauty created by the Creator.

This time it was very different. While in Cozumel, Mexico, we donned our snorkeling gear and jumped in! We immediately realized that we were in way over our heads (literally, and in the sensory-overloaded world under the surface of the Gulf of Mexico).

The beauty of the tropical fish, coral, plant life and other types of "life" were almost overwhelming. Like two kids experiencing an amusement park with the lights, sounds and "dazzle", we constantly tapped each other and pointed at the different sights.

A few days later we spent two days around rock formations in the ocean off South Florida. Again, the experience was almost breathtaking (one must be careful when under the water breathing through a tube)! Here we found ourselves literally swimming with the fishes, as schools of fish surrounded us, almost oblivious to our presence. (I need to do some research to identify them.) We even swam with a school of jack, some of them almost two feet long, and ended our final day with an encounter with a small shark (is there any such thing as a small shark?).

It was fantastic, and we are hooked! But what about living in a fishbowl. The world we saw through our masks was a world that is not seen unless one takes the time to wear the proper equipment to make seeing that world possible. In other words, the fishbowl that we peered into (even swam in) required something to make it possible to experience it (in this case, snorkeling equipment).

Sometimes, to experience an unusual, extraordinary or remarkable thing, it requires either a different perspective, a different experience or an different view. Do what it takes to see life from a new perspective. Climb into the fishbowl and have a look. You may love it!

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