THE ONE SIGN YOUR BOSS WANTS YOU GONE.

Everyone who has a boss should read this!!!!!!!!!!!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NIGERIA!

What’s this whiff I smell? So pleasant I gasp for more. Perhaps an apothecary has broken his alabaster box of perfume and squirted his product on nation Nigeria!

And what’s this joy that fills the air? So contagious no one can resist. Perhaps a chemist has sprayed laughing gas on nation Nigeria!

From across the Atlantic I hear drum beats. Energetic drummers thump irresistibly. They call the dance to break forth. Steps tap in rhythmic response to their beats. The drummers’ beats rise and keep rising. They’re interjected sporadically with spasms of silence. They call the dance to break forth, saying, “Dance Nigeria, for the dance has just begun.”

I pray for you Nigeria – the giant and pride of Africa – as you build your democracy. Fifty-four years is not a joke. You have survived many storms and have remained strong. You have been mired in the manacles of injustice and seared in the flames of oppression.

You have endured pain. You have been raped by randy leaders who pretended to love you. All over you are scars from past, hurting, “love” relationships into which you were blindly wooed. Intolerable pains have caused your heart to skip. Deep wounds have made your heart droop.

But you are like a larva that longs to transform to a beautiful butterfly. Your destiny is not in the cocoon, Nigeria; no, not at all.

You were configured to conquer.

You were coded to cruise.

You were designed to soar like an eagle, not to quack along with turkeys.

Now, let the past fifty-four years be the period which you sowed precious seeds, seeds that would transform you from country Nigeria to nation Nigeria. Many of your citizens have laid down their lives so you could rise. The civil war was a price you paid for your greatness. You have learnt from your past mistakes.

Nigeria, today you are wiser.

Bigger.

Better.

Stronger.

As we celebrate your 54th birthday today, you stand at the threshold of destiny. You’re inching towards the fulfillment of your dreams. You are at the vintage of a new dawn, a new beginning. Old things are passing away. So dry your tears, Nigeria. Weep no more. God – your God – is in your midst. And He is bringing you out of the rubble of the past years into the newness of the future.

Weep no more, Nigeria.

From Sokoto to Lagos, from Borno to Calabar, we speak peace within your walls, and prosperity within your gates. This is your time. This is your finest hour. Rise Nigeria, take your place. Corrupt leaders will no longer rule you. Your God will give you leaders after His own heart. Leaders who will lay you in lush green pastures, and still you beside quiet waters.

Your economy is improving. Your currency will rise again in value. The power sector is already changing. All your energy needs will be met. In twenty years or less, you will be among the top democracies in the world. It’s a tall dream. But, yes YOU can!

Your electoral processes are improving. Your elections will be transparent. The conduct of your polls will help secure your democratic destiny.

This is my prayer for you, Nigeria – God’s own country!

I now know clearly that this whiff I smell is not from the apothecary’s perfume box. Neither does the chortle result from the spraying effect of a chemist’s laughing gas. No. Not at all.

This whiff is the fragrance of an emerging new Nigeria; a whiff that eclipses the repugnant odour of the old Nigeria. And this laughter is the uncapped exuberance of Nigerians who, at present, stand at the threshold of destiny, at the border of Biblical Canaan, ready to cross into her promised inheritance.

So, let’s click glasses and deploy cutlery.

Today.

Let’s sing with grace and glee.

Let’s say with patriotic candor: Happy birthday, Nigeria!

– Written by Bryce Edem; @BryceEdem; bryce.edem@gmail.com;

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How To Release Creative People For Effective Ministry.

It’s impossible to have a healthy church that experiences multi-dimensional growth without trusting people enough to delegate leadership to them. Having said that, this remains one of the greatest bottlenecks to growth for thousands of churches. And delegation remains one of the hardest challenges for Pastors and church staff members.

One of the reasons we fail to delegate leadership is our fear of wildfire. We’re afraid things will get out of control – and indeed they will – but limiting control is actually what often fuels growth. We often encumber leaders with too much red tape. Policies and procedures have their place, but we can easily add so much structure that people don’t feel free to lead and make decisions.

The key to motivating creative people to lead ministry effectively is granting ownership.

At Saddleback, as much as possible, each ministry makes its own decisions without a lot of oversight from the staff. We believe that the implementers should be the decision makers. When everything has to be passed by a committee or board, we tend to ask why? about every decision. But our initial response to the ideas of creative people should actually be why not?

There are three ways to bring out the best in others and release creative leaders for ministry.

Give Them a Challenge.

People love to live up to a big challenge. Jesus demonstrated this with the Great Commission. He took a dozen average guys and challenged them to go tell the gospel to the entire world. He knew they couldn’t do it alone and they couldn’t do it quickly, but He knew they could do it over time as the church expanded under their leadership.

Give Them Control.

People need permission. I often say that you can have control or growth, but you can’t have both. At least you can’t have a lot of both. You must have some control, obviously, but there’s always a trade-off. Growth happens in an atmosphere of freedom where leaders are encouraged to dream, to try, to experiment, and even to fail and move forward. Burnout happens when we squash every new idea with a skeptical attitude.

Give Them Credit.

It’s extremely important to affirm and encourage those who serve. Pointing out successes, providing guidance and comfort through failure, and reminding people of their calling and giftedness in Christ matters greatly to the accomplishment of the church’s mission. We are wired to respond positively to encouragement and we’re usually motivated to keep going even when things get difficult if we know that our labor is appreciated.

Would you like your church to be stronger and healthier and to grow multi-dimensionally? You must die to self, give away ministry, and empower leaders with permission. And if you’re reading this as a non-Pastor, you absolutely must give your Pastor and staff the freedom to lead and feed by taking the responsibility of ministry.

CREDIT:

This article, written by Rick Warren, appears on his website, http://www.pastors.com.

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LEADERS: GOT QUESTIONS? ASK YOUR PEOPLE!

Bryce Edem

Ken Blanchard tells a story about his early days as a consultant. One day he was brought in to help address a turnover problem at a manufacturing plant in the Southeastern United States. In spite of competitive wages and benefits and an overall positive assessment from employees, the plant was experiencing large spikes in people leaving every summer and management couldn’t figure out why. When Ken arrived, he was briefed on the situation and the inability to determine a cause.

After reviewing the data, Ken thought about it a minute and then suggested that a good next step would be to talk to front line employees to see if they could shed some light on the situation. “Why do you want to talk to them? What would they know that we don’t?” was the general reaction of the senior leadership. But Ken persisted. He conducted a number of interviews and…

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LEADERS: GOT QUESTIONS? ASK YOUR PEOPLE!

Ken Blanchard tells a story about his early days as a consultant. One day he was brought in to help address a turnover problem at a manufacturing plant in the Southeastern United States. In spite of competitive wages and benefits and an overall positive assessment from employees, the plant was experiencing large spikes in people leaving every summer and management couldn’t figure out why. When Ken arrived, he was briefed on the situation and the inability to determine a cause.

After reviewing the data, Ken thought about it a minute and then suggested that a good next step would be to talk to front line employees to see if they could shed some light on the situation. “Why do you want to talk to them? What would they know that we don’t?” was the general reaction of the senior leadership. But Ken persisted. He conducted a number of interviews and found out that people thought that the plant was a good place to work and that wages were competitive as management had shared. However, he also quickly found out that the air conditioning in the plant didn’t work very well. As one worker told him, “It’s hotter than heck down there—and after a while you just can’t take it anymore. That’s why people leave.”

Ken reported the information back to the senior leaders who were surprised. They hadn’t thought to ask the people closest to the situation. They quickly improved the air conditioning system and saw the retention rate return to normal levels.

And even though Ken’s mom exclaimed, “And you get paid for this?” when he first shared the story, the problem is more common than it might seem at first.

Here are three questions to ask about your own organization:

(1) Are their opportunities for improvement in your organization that are well-known to front-line workers but may not be known to senior leaders?

(2) What aspects of your company’s culture might keep people from sharing what they know?

(3) How can you, as a leader, make it easier for people to share information with you?

It is easy for senior leaders to become isolated and removed from the day-to-day activities happening within their organizations. Talk to your people. Ask questions. You might be surprised by what you learn.

– Written by David Witt, and posted on Blanchard LeaderChat, Weekly digest for August 17, 2014.

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Live Full, Die Empty.

Two years ago, I decided to improve my Leadership and Communication skills. I joined Toastmasters International.  

Toastmasters International is the leading movement devoted to making effective oral communication a worldwide reality – a 292,000 membership strong world leader in Communication and Leadership Development, with 14,350 clubs in 122 countries. Since 1924, more than 4 million people around the world have become more confident speakers in front of an audience because of their participation in Toastmasters.

I remember the first time I attended a Toastmasters club meeting. That was at Leeds City Toastmasters Club, England. Though I had been speaking before the public at some level, I wanted to get professional training. I wanted to become a transformational speaker and a commanding communicator.

”Table Topics” is a segment of Toastmasters club meeting that allows people to speak extemporaneously. I went to watch, but I was called up to give an impromptu speech. I was nervous, but the speaker in me awoke. To my utter surprise, I was voted the best impromptu speaker. That increased my confidence. I registered to be a member, and I have never looked back ever since.

Last Thursday, I gave my 10th prepared speech from the Competent Communication Manual. Speech Project #10 is titled, ”Inspire Your Audience.” Here’s the executive summary and objectives of the project respectively:

Executive Summary:

An inspirational speech motivates an audience to improve personally, emotionally, professionally, or spiritually and relies heavily on emotional appeal. It brings the audience together in a mood of fellowship and shared desire, builds the audience’s enthusiasm, then proposes a change or plan and appeals to the audience to adopt this change or plan. This speech will last longer than your previous talks, so make arrangements in advance with your Vice President Education for extra time. 

Objectives:

  • To inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives and challenging the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement.
  • Appeal to the audience’s needs and emotions, using stories, anecdotes and quotes to add drama.
  • Avoid using notes.
  • Time: Eight to Ten minutes.

Here’s the text of that speech:

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The days inch along slowly towards the end of their allotted time. Each passing day bears them swiftly on invisible wings to the finish line. The players strut their hour upon the stage. Then the curtain falls, and the players are dragged off the stage by death. Could contemplating death cause the remaining players to live differently?

Mr Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, most distinguished guests:

There’s good in bad. Candy Chang’s story accentuates this paradigm.

Candy lost a loved one and went through excruciating pain, grief and depression. Though she eventually found clarity in her clutter, she wanted to know what was important to the people around her. So in February 2011, she painted one side of an abandoned house in her neighbourhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint, and wrote an incomplete sentence, “Before I die…”

Anyone walking past could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.  

By the next day, the wall was full of responses: 

Before I die I want to sing for millions; before I die I want to write a book; before I die I want to build an orphanage; before I die I want to see my daughter graduate; before I die I want to hold an elective office; before I die I want to have dinner with the Queen of England; before I die I want to own an iPhone…’’ 

People’s responses made her laugh and cry.  After posting a few photos online, she received many requests from people to make ‘‘Before I Die’’ wall in their community. Today, 510 ‘‘Before I Die’’ walls have been created in over 34 languages in 70 countries.

Candy’s story resonates with mine. I have lost three members of my family of seven: I lost my Mum in 2000; I lost my younger brother in 2007; and I lost my Dad in 2010. Some days I would wake up at dawn and would be lost in thought till the moon embraced the sun and the stars kissed daylight.

Bereavement is a time when your heart bows in grief and your soul trembles in pain. But ugly situations can make us think and act differently. It can teach us profound lessons.  

Let me share three lessons from Candy’s loss and mine – lessons we should all embrace:

Lesson Number 1:  Live Intentionally.

Don’t spend your life, your energies and your resources to climb to the top of a building only to discover that you placed the ladder on the wrong wall. You will live in regret. You would wish you could turn back the hands of time, but it would be too late.

To live intentionally, you must function according to Design. You are a product of intelligent Design. You are an ‘artistic masterpiece’ – a work of art like a painting, a poem, a sculpture, a graphic design, an embroidery, or a piece of music. The Designer’s intention occasioned your configuration. Birds have wings because they are designed to fly. Fishes have fins because they are designed to swim. You are how you are because of why you are. Explore your design. Live by design.

To live intentionally, you must function at maximum Capacity. Can’t you hear the music resounding in your ears, calling you to dig deeper? Can’t you hear the voice whispering in your heart, telling you to forge further? That voice whispers: You are more than this.   

Lesson Number 2:  Work Tall.

If tomorrow were your last day on earth, would you want to do the work you did today? If your answer is ‘No,’ change your work. Do what makes you fulfilled. Do what is important to you. Because when you’re gone, your work will stand as the single biggest testament to who you were, what you believed, and what you cared about. By “your work” I don’t mean your job, career, or occupation – but any way in which you create value by using your resources.

You may be a Pastor. You may be a Doctor. You may be a Writer. You may be a Speaker. You may be youth etiquette consultant. Your work may be raising your children, or other people’s children. Whatever your best work may be, get immersed in it. And be courageous enough to disappoint people who would want to choose for you what your best work should be. Never feel ashamed of your best work. I repeat, never. That’s what I mean when I say, ‘‘Work Tall.’’

Lesson Number 3:  Make Significant Contribution.

Through photosynthesis plants receive carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. Through respiration animals receive oxygen and give out carbon dioxide. Sadly, may people only receive but never give. Don’t be like them. Life is not about consumption; life is about contribution.

That’s why Maya Angelou, the late renowned poet, said:

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.’’

I call this ‘‘Personal Social Responsibility.’’ Throwing something back is Personal Social Responsibility. Throwing something back is the only way to make your life count even when you’ve stopped living. Throwing something back is the only way to be relevant even from your grave.

People will not remember you for the cars you rode, or the mansions you built, or the jewelry you wore, or the vacations you enjoyed. People will remember you for the contributions you made. You’ll fade away like stars of the morning. You’ll lose your light in the Sun. You’ll pass from the earth and its toiling. You’ll only be remembered by what you’ve done.

Have you heard of the man called Solomon Grundy? English nursery rhyme says he was born on Monday, christened on Tuesday, married on Wednesday, took ill on Thursday, grew worse on Friday, died on Saturday, buried on Sunday, and that was the end of Solomon Grundy. Don’t end like Solomon Grundy.

In conclusion, perhaps I should create a ‘‘Before I Die’’ wall at the entrance of this building so that each time we come to Toastmasters meeting, it will remind us to live full and die empty.

Your days are inching along slowly towards the end of your allotted time. Each passing day bears you swiftly on invisible wings to the finish line. As you strut your hour upon the stage, the clock is ticking. The curtain will soon fall, and you’ll be exit the stage called Life.

But before you do, let me remind you of three things you should do:

Number 1: Live intentionally;

Number 2: Work tall; and

Number 3: Make significant contribution to the world.

That’s how to live full and die empty.

Mr Toastmaster!

Postscript:

After twenty-four months of thinking, researching, writing, editing, listening, rehearsing, speaking, and pushing on even at times when I didn’t feel like going on; after delivering 10 prepared speeches, I have earned the designation, CC (Competent Communicator) from Toastmasters International. Well, I have only learned the fundamentals of Public Speaking.

But I’m pushing on to The Advanced Speaker Series of Toastmasters International. That’s a whooping 15 training manuals, each having 3 Speech Projects. That means I must think, research, write, edit, listen to, rehearse, and present 45 speeches.

Wow!

I must not faint; I must not fail; and I must not falter. Perhaps for another 2 years.

So help me God!

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Get Noticed, Get Connected, and Get Rewarded.

Last Thursday I gave another speech from the Competent Communication Manual of Toastmasters International. Toastmasters International is the leading movement devoted to making effective oral communication a worldwide reality – a 292,000 membership strong world leader in Communication and Leadership Development, with 14,350 clubs in 122 countries. Since 1924, more than 4 million people around the world have become more confident speakers in front of an audience because of their participation in Toastmasters.

Public speaking is considered the greatest fear a person can have, even greater than the fear of death. I’m slaying Glossophobia – the fear of public speaking – one speech at a time. It was Project #9: Persuade with Power. Here’s the executive summary and objective of the project respectively:

Executive Summary:

The ability to persuade people – getting them to understand, accept and act upon your ideas – is a valuable skill. Your listeners will more likely be persuaded if they perceive you as credible, if you use logic and emotion in your appeal, if you carefully structure your speech and if you appeal to their interests. The speech should focus on the self-interest of the audience. Avoid using notes because they may cause listeners to doubt your sincerity, knowledge and conviction.

Objectives:

  • Persuade listeners to adopt your viewpoint or ideas or to take some action.
  • Appeal to the audience’s interests.
  • Use logic and emotion to support your position.
  • Avoid using notes.
  • Time: Five to seven minutes.

There were four speakers from my category; I was voted the best speaker. Here’s the text of my speech:

—————————————————————————————— 

How would you feel if you could solve the problems that certain people face but can’t reach them? 

How would you feel if their lives depended on the solution you could provide?  

Or how would you feel if people who could significantly change your life told you they couldn’t find you? 

How would you feel if they were the exact answer that you needed?

Mr Toastmaster, fellow Toastmaster, most distinguished guests:

For the past two years I have been a Contributing Writer for a magazine published by a leading non-profit in Europe, with print runs up to 30,000 copies, reaching about 250,000 people in the UK alone. 

I didn’t get this role because I could write with panache. In addition to the writing skills, I was dexterous in generating interactive digital content and sustaining interactive digital conversation among online users around the world. It was in this process that I engaged with the editor of the magazine who asked me to send in an article, and has asked me to do so since then for the past two years. Unquestionably, Social Media gave me a platform to get noticed, to get connected, and to get rewarded.   

But there are wizards with words who create exquisite pieces of literary artwork yet never get to play on the big stage. That’s an anomaly. How many people here know the meaning of the word ‘‘anomaly?’’ In the context of this speech, let me give a different meaning of the word ‘‘anomaly.’’ 

When great talents are not known because these talents cannot leverage the power of a platform, that’s an anomaly! When potential world-changers languish in obscurity because they can’t engage the ubiquity of a platform, that’s an anomaly! And when awesome products and outstanding services are not fully optimized because those who create them are blind to the exponential growth that a platform offers, that’s an anomaly!  Sadly, these great talents, these world-changers, these entrepreneurs are in this room. I’m referring to you…to you…to you… to all of you! You are more than this! All you are is not all you could be. And all you’ve done is not all you could do.

Now, having a great talent, an awesome product, an outstanding service, or a compelling cause is no longer enough. Whether you are a speaker, a writer, a recording artiste, a politician, a business owner, a pastor, a salesperson, an author, an entrepreneur, or a job seeker, without a platform – something that helps you to get seen and heard – you don’t have a chance to succeed in this noisy world.

So, why do you need a platform? Let me tell you 3 reasons why you need a platform:

(1)   The market is more crowded than ever;   

(2)   People are more distracted than ever;

(3)   Competition is more intense than ever.

In the old days, you could stand on a hill or a wooden stage to be heard. That was your platform. In the 20th century, you had to have a radio or TV show, a newspaper or magazine column, a best-selling book, or a celebrity status, to be seen and heard. But in this 21st century, everything has changed. Social MediaWith the advent of Social Media, everyone now has a platform

Here are the ‘Big Four’ Social Media platforms that you should actively use:   

(1) Facebook: Is the world’s #1 social media platform, with over 1 billion users in 127 out of 137 countries of the world. If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world.

(2) YouTube: Has over 600 million users and allows you to share your videos with a target audience. Every minute, 72 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube.  

(3) Twitter: Has over 500 million users. It records 175 million tweets daily.

(4) LinkedIn: Has over 261 million users. It’s a platform where professionals connect; a place where recruiters and job seeker meet.

Since you don’t own Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you need a platform you own and control. That platform is your Website. Your website is an online shop where your contacts, customers, subscribers, followers, fans, and prospects come to buy your products and services.  

When you get noticed and connected, you’ll consequently get rewarded. Now, let me tell you about 3 people who have reaped bountiful harvest from Social Media:

(1) First is Michael Hyatt – former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Having spent over a decade to build his social media platform, Michael has generated more than 300,000 monthly visitors; more than 123,000 Twitter followers; more than 92,000 monthly podcast listeners; more than 70,000 newsletter subscribers; and more than 17,000 Facebook fans. Having successfully built an online community, he has monetized his platform by selling advertising, by selling products and services, and by affiliate marketing.  

(2) Next is Tofo Tofo – a Mozambican dance trio. They posted a video of their performance at a wedding on YouTube. American singer Beyoncé came across the video in 2011, flew them from Maputo to Los Angeles to teach her and her dancers their native dance moves, as well as take part in her hit music video, ‘Run the World.’ Beyoncé reportedly paid them US $3million. They performed again at her show in Stockholm in 2013, and have gone on to become a global phenomenon.   

(3) Last is Sabrina Sudarsana. After a Master’s degree in 2012, she couldn’t find a job for more than a year using online job listings. She then updated her profile on LinkedIn, connected with past employers as well as recruiters for companies she wanted to work for, came across a recruiter for Pacific Dental Services which advertised for an Operations Manager, sent the recruiter an InMail, got instant response, attended some interviews, and landed a dream job in just two weeks on LinkedIn.  

In closing, if you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you miss the fulfillment of trading your talents and creativity.   

If you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you short-change yourself and will never operate at your full potential.

If you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you live in antiquity and are completely out of touch with contemporary reality.  

If you are not using Social Media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you live in poverty in the midst of plenty.   

If you are not using Social Media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you confine yourself to a hole in a corner and will never get play on the big stage.

If you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you starve the world of your gifts and competences and will never get to help people whose success depend on you.

If you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded because you’re afraid you might get into inappropriate relationships, would you move to live on an uninhabited island? Doesn’t your ‘car’ have brakes? Doesn’t your ‘car’ have the reverse gear? Can’t you stop a bird from perching on your head, oh you fearful Toastmaster? If you don’t want to travel by air because you’re afraid of plane crash, would you drive from Alausa to Alaska? Or from Sokoto to Soweto?

This is no time to be care-free. This is no time for business as usual. This is no time to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. This is your time. This is your chance. This is your moment. Your destiny is speaking forth. Your season is breaking forth.  

In the face of these evidences, I urge you to embrace and actively begin to use Social Media right away.

In the face of these evidences, I ask you to launch your personal or business website within two months.

If you will take action steps right away, then you’ll see your cup of blessing filled to full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

If you will take action steps right away, then you’ll live happily ever after. And thank me later.

If you will commit to this, please raise your hand. By raising your hand, you affirm these words, spoken by Jesse Jackson, in the presence of these accountability partners:  

 ‘‘I’m tired of sailing my little boat, far inside the harbour bar. I want to go out where the big ships float, out on the deep where the great ones are. And should my frail craft prove too slight for the waves that beat those billows o’er, I’d rather go down in a stirring fight than drowse to death at the sheltered shore.’’  

 Mr Toastmaster! 

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Credits:

I got the inspiration for this speech from Michael Hyatt’s book, PLATFORM: Get Noticed In A Noisy World. I have drawn some text from it. 

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