Two Lessons From Joseph That Always Lead to Promotion!

JosephThe story of Joseph in the book of Genesis is one my favorite narratives in the Bible. There are so many lessons to be learned in this story. Today I read how Joseph was approached by Potiphar’s wife and tempted to commit adultery with her. If you know the story, Joseph turned down her attempts to lure him on several occasions. One day, Joseph explained to her that he could not commit this sin against his master or God. Joseph possessed impeccable character as seen in his response to Potiphar’s wife:

“But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?'” Gen 39:8-9

Joseph was a steward of his own character

Joseph understood how to be a steward of his own character. He recognized two things about his life that propelled him forward not only in promotion but in integrity. Joseph possessed many character qualities, but I want to highlight these two from which we can all learn a valuable lesson.

1. Steward the trust of man.

Joseph earned the trust of Potiphar to the point that he was placed in charge of all that Potiphar had. It’s a good reminder for us today that we have a responsibility to steward the trust that has been placed in us by men. Whether you are a CEO, Executive, Team Leader, Administrative Assistant, or part-time employee, you have been entrusted with responsibility. To steward the trust of man is to not take advantage of or abuse the position, but to be faithful and diligent because of the trust placed in you. Joseph teaches us that we should steward trust regardless of the condition of the job or the treatment by others. The stewardship of trust will either be a stepping stone or a stumbling block to promotion.

2. Steward the favor of God.

Joseph highlighted the fact that to betray his master’s trust would be a sin against God. Not only would he be sinning against God in adultery, but also in abusing the favor of God on his life. Joseph knew that his position was only attributed to the favor that God bestowed upon him in the eyes of Potiphar. You and I must understand we have a responsibility to steward the favor of God upon our lives. When we steward God’s favor, we demonstrate faithfulness and honor to God and those with whom we serve. Stewarding God’s favor is doing all that we do as unto the Lord for his glory; it’s serving in humility with confidence and excellence. The stewardship of God’s favor will either be a stepping stone or a stumbling block to promotion.

I am reminded today that how I steward the trust of man and the favor of God will either be a stepping stone for me to keep REACHING FORWARD for God’s best in my life or a stumbling block.

Feel free to share your own comments.

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Achieving Success Through Boundaries

Most people don’t like boundaries. When you think of boundaries you usually think of something that is restricting your freedom or getting in your way. Boundaries are everywhere! As I sit here, I see a glass covering over my fireplace, a fence around my yard, and a screen over my window. On our roadways we find double yellow lines, guard rails and rumble strips. Boundaries are everywhere! Boundaries are not to be feared or avoided, but embraced and carefully considered. Boundaries create a channel that moves your life, business and family in a specific direction so that you can reach your desired destination. However, without boundaries the destination is left up to chance. Think of a river with no boundaries; it becomes a swamp with no clear direction or purpose.

There is great success to be achieved through the establishment of boundaries in our lives.

1. Boundaries protect against unhealthy outside influences. We are bombarded by people and things that have it as their goal to influence us toward their agenda. Clear boundaries prevent good ideas from steering us away from our vision. Without clear boundaries, we are open to the influences of everything around us. When we establish clear boundaries, we are free to choose healthy influences that enable us to accomplish our goals and empower us for success.

2. Boundaries protect us from drifting off course. We have a tendency to drift toward that which we are focusing on. Like the rumble strips on the side of the road, boundaries alert us that we are drifting off course. For example, if we have a tendency to spend money on things that we are passionate about yet it doesn’t fit the budget, then a boundary would be a predetermined dollar amount. Once we approach that boundary it’s time to stop.

3. Boundaries build character and form integrity. Internal boundaries keep us in check so that we build character and form a life of integrity. When anger surfaces, a boundary must be in place that prevents it from becoming rage and resentment. When an argument ensues, we must have a boundary that says “far enough” before words begin to come out that hurt and injure others. A boundary should prevent that occasional drink from becoming more than occasional and then a daily part of your life. We must build internal boundaries that say “stop” when we get near them.
Boundaries are not restrictions that take away freedom. Rather, they are bumpers so to speak that keep you moving in the right direction. Boundaries create a sense of freedom that empowers you to reach your fullest potential by living according to the principles, values and goals that you have set. Without boundaries, you have the potential to end up anywhere.

Keep REACHING FORWARD in your life, family and business by setting boundaries that will enable you to achieve much success!

Comments welcome!

What leaders can do to get results.

I want to preface my content by saying that I believe with all my  heart that leadership is influence. Leadership principles such as modeling, inspiring, challenging, enabling, and encouraging (The Leadership Challenge; Kouzes and Posner) are responsibilities of the leader. Leaders set the example, motivate, cast compelling vision, and live the organizational values daily. However, there are times when someone is just not meeting the standard of performance in spite of overall organizational health.

Sometimes it is difficult to put a finger on why people do not perform to standard. The obvious place to start is the leader. Not that the leader is doing anything wrong, but that he or she must analyze and act.

The simple truth is that people get paid to produce results.

Leaders should ask two questions:

1. What is the root cause?

2. What needs to be added?

Root cause is the bottom line that explains why a standard is not met. Leaders must keep asking the question “why” until they have waded through all of the excuses, rationalizations, and shallow explanations. Almost every situation will fall into one of three root causes. For each root cause, there is something that needs to be added.

Root Cause #1: DON’T KNOW. (Knowledge and skill)

  • Don’t know it’s his or her responsibility.
  • Don’t know what the standard is; that is, what the deliverable looks like when the standard is achieved.
  • Don’t know how to meet the standard. He has the ability, but lacks the knowledge and skills to pull it off.

What to add:

  • Clear job description that defines areas of responsibility.
  • Supervision and approval clarifies what the standard looks like.
  • Training until the standard is known, understood, and skill is developed.

Root Cause #2: CAN’T COMPLY. (Resources and ability)

  • Can’t comply because of lack of resources. Necessary tools are not available such as time, equipment, supplies, personnel, budget.
  • Can’t comply because of lack of ability. Sometimes people are simply in the wrong position. Personality along with knowledge, skills and ability matter. Poor performers in one area might be all-stars in another.

What to add:

  • Add the necessary resources. Determine if resources need to be reallocated to align with organizational priorities.
  • Add the opportunity for people to move into positions that are a better fit for their current ability.

Root Cause #3: WON’T COMPLY. (Character and values)

  • Won’t comply because of laziness, procrastination, lack of responsibility, attitude, etc.
  • Won’t comply because of conflicting values with the organization. There is no inner drive to produce in spite of having the knowledge, skill, ability and resources. Are they sold out to the vision and mission of the organization?

What to add:

  • Add open discussion regarding lack of performance during reviews and accountability measures that improve performance.
  • Add disciplinary measures in the form of probationary periods, letters of reprimand/concern, and other appropriate consequences.
  • Add the opportunity for him or her to find a new organization that aligns with his or her values.

How To Restore Fun and Productivity To Your Life!

Do you feel like your life is taking you over and you have less and less control over how your day goes? After all, we are faced with taking care of the kids so they are successful in school and in life; getting our work done so we please the boss and perhaps even get a raise or promotion; I’ve got to get to the store and pick up the things I forgot last time; the house needs tending to; I have deadlines quickly approaching; my spouse is obviously not happy with me right now. Do any of these sound familiar?

The things that you desire to do you don’t do. The demands that are being placed on you are stealing the fun and productivity from your life. The problem may be that you are doing too much, but more importantly you are probably living a reactionary life!

How to break free from a reactionary life!

A reactionary life is a life that is reacting to all of the demands that we face each day. Many of the demands placed on us are not really demands at all, but things that we react to that are stealing our time, energy and focus.  Here are a few:

1. Reacting to unnecessary Email: Do you ever get email that has magically subscribed itself to you? Every day you seem to get the most recent special or “hot” item that is on sale. Maybe it’s an inspirational story that has made its way around the world and landed in your inbox. It has nothing to do with your life, but you take 10 minutes to read it. And, of course, if you don’t pass it on to others you will be guilty of not doing your good deed for the day.

Solution: Touch those useless emails one last time and unsubscribe using the link at the very bottom. Others…delete without reading! If you like these things, respond to important emails first, then react to the others on your break or lunch hour.

2. Reacting to your phone: Do you stop important tasks to jump to the phone that just made a noise telling you you have a new text, email, tweet or phone call?

Solution: Check the phone when you’re finished with what you’re doing. Complete the email…complete the page you’re reading…complete the project…complete the game with your kids or the conversation with your spouse. Don’t stop what you’re doing to react to a noise. It really is ok to allow people to leave you a message. It will be there when you’re done.

3. Reacting to the urgent: Is it really urgent for you or for someone else? Do you stop the necessary in order to react to the urgent?  Some things are legitimately urgent, most are not.

Solution: Know the difference between urgent (crisis, emergency, deal breaker) and the necessary. Sometimes what seems to be urgent can wait an hour or a day so that you can complete what is necessary or get the exercise, rest or enjoyment that you deserve.

You can take your life back by ordering your actions and learning to respond to what is priority and necessary rather than trying to react to all the things that are invading your life.

Keep REACHING FORWARD for significance in your life by eliminating reactionary living. Live on purpose for a purpose!

How have you guarded against reactionary living?

How To Love the Job You Hate!

I am blessed that I get to do a job everyday that I love! However, this hasn’t always been the case. One summer when I was 17 years old, I worked in a sawmill; actually, I worked UNDER the sawmill! My job was to shovel large mounds of sawdust into a conveyor belt that carried the sawdust to places unknown and unimportant (at least to me). The temperature outside was about 100 degrees, but the temperature under the mill was about 115. The more I would sweat, the more sawdust would stick to my skin. I would wipe the sweat from my brow and sawdust would get in my eyes. I had sawdust in my hair, eyes, ears, pants, shoes…I think you get the  idea. The best part of my job, however, was when the hot hydraulic fluid from the machines above me would drip down the back of my sweaty, sawdust-filled neck! What a joy it was to go do that job every day (NOT!).

There is a show on TV called Dirty Jobs that I find interesting. Mike, the Ford guy, goes around and helps people do some of the most dirtiest jobs. The thing I love about the show is that they always highlight the measure of detail and efficiency that is required of the individual workers regardless of how “dirty” the job is. I have admired how so many people take great pride in their work in some of the most disgusting and difficult environments.

Reasons People Hate Their Jobs

1. The conditions stink!

2. The pay is terrible!

3. The boss is a jerk!

4. The hours are ridiculous!

5. I hear this from Christians, “I need a new job because the language I hear everyday really brings me down.”

Perhaps if you are hating your job it is because your focus is on the wrong things. When some or all of the above conditions exist in your workplace, forget about the “job” and change your focus to your “work.” Here is some great advice from King Solomon:

Ecclesiastes 3:22 (NLT) “So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work.”

Notice he didn’t say for people to be happy in their jobs; he said be happy in their work. True satisfaction in your job will most likely never come from the things you have no control over, which are the conditions and people around you. True satisfaction in your job will only come from the things that you can control, which is your work!

The secret to loving the job you hate is to be happy in your work!

Four Ways to be Happy in Your Work! (Note: All four relate to attitude AND performance)

1. Learn to do your work with excellence! (Prov 22:29)

2. Contribute to success not problems! (Prov 18:9)

3. Bear fruit in your work; be productive! (Col 1:10)

4. Offer the work of your hands as service to the Lord, not man! (Col 3:23)

How have you learned to love a job you hated?