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The Generosity Effect of Gravity CEO Decision to Pay $70K

Over a year ago the CEO of Gravity Payments, Dan Price, made the decision to raise the minimum pay for every employee to $70k while reducing his own pay to $70k.  It sparked a huge debate with polarizing opinions ranging from ‘brilliant’ to ‘idiot’ with a full array of doubt and interesting circumstances in between.  I’m not interested in being a part of that debate, but I do want to point out what I saw when the decision was made and what I see now over a year later.

Here’s what I posted on Facebook when I read about the decision last year, because I believe when you take care of people they take care of others, and this case helps prove that point (screenshot linked to article):

Gravity CEO Announces Minimum Pay $70K for Employees

Again, I don’t want to be part of the debate.  We can argue that $70k is a crazy amount of money to pay certain roles or that ‘$70k is nothing in Silicon Valley.  Apparently, going by all the noisy articles that ensued this decision, there’s a lot of detailed circumstances everyone could argue.  I don’t care about all that noise.   My point in posting this has nothing to do with the arguments and everything to do with the effect of valuing people and leading by example.

Here’s what the employees did for Dan Price because of his decision to pay them well. (article)

Video:

Again, we could get hung up on thoughts about circumstances or say things like, “It’s easy to make decisions like Dan if we’re going to get something in return”.  But I’d be willing to bet that Gravity employees are more generous to people all around them than they were when they were being squeezed by the common practice of paying the most qualified people the least possible amount for the purpose of increasing profits – a practice that is a downfall of leadership in this world.  If Dan Price is as good a leader as his example of generosity suggests he might be, then I bet he is as happy to see how others are being blessed as he is to receive this blessing the employees gave him (well, maybe not AS happy, but at least happy).

 

What Do You Do?

Today, 6/1/16, is one year since I started my current full time job.  Happy work anniversary to me, said no one, and I really don’t care.  Some might call me frustrated, some might say I lack faith, and others might think I have mental problems.  All might be correct.  Regardless of the reason for my thoughts and attitudes this one year milestone in my current full time employment has brought to mind the fact that probably my least favorite question in the history of questions is, “What do you do?”  Why is that so annoying you ask?  Well – that’s what I want to explain.

When I hear the question, “What do you do?”, I want to know why they are asking, because the why determines the what I want to share.  I do lots of things.  Are they talking about fun stuff or work stuff?  I can do lots of different fun things as well as lots of different work things, and sometimes they’re both, but if we’re all honest fun and work are usually totally separate things.  I’ll talk about either one, but wouldn’t anyone rather talk about the fun stuff than the work stuff if given the choice?  The sad thing, in my opinion, is that no one ever asks, “What do you do?”, to hear about the fun stuff.  They want to know the work stuff.

So my mind skips past fun and on to work, but I’m still not sure why they’re asking.  Are they someone who values or respects people with certain ‘status’, jobs, positions, or titles in a way that shows preferential treatment?  I do not want to play any form of that game.  Are they genuinely interested in learning more about me and the type of work I do?  That seems ok, but it’s so surface level.

In the spirit of being cordial I almost always get past all my inhibitions and simply play along.  “I’m in sales”, I say, followed by, “in the visual communications industry.  Basically I help retail companies and brands with their point of purchase signage, displays, and merchandising solutions.”  It’s what I’ve done for the past 12 years, full time at least.  If the person asking seems genuinely interested I might add that I’ve been involved in a lot of business and ministry endeavors over the years ‘on the side’ or ‘as a volunteer’.  There might be some mention of my passion for helping people with financial management.  I might even explain my belief in the multi-vocational approach to life.

How deep that conversation goes depends on how much I believe the person really wants to know, understand, maybe even accept about me.  Becuase I don’t want people to identify me as ‘what I do’ as much as I want them to know who I really am.  I hope to reflect the God that gives me purpose, the principles that guide my values, and the passions that drive my focus.

We can talk about one year at the current employer or 11 years at the previous or the three year employer before that doing something completely different, or the two or four or five years here and there doing one side thing or another.  But who I am and who I’m becoming is far more interesting than what I’m doing at any moment or in any season of life.  The same is true for you.  So I hope you have opportunities to get real with people in your life and share the ‘who you are’ and ‘who you’re becoming’, because life is too short to only have ‘what do you do’ relationships.

So on this day that marks a milestone it’s not that I just don’t care about what I’m doing.  I just care more about becoming who God wants me to be so that no matter what I do I serve Him better every day.

Ambition Fueled by God

One of my favorite authors of all time, Zig Ziglar, says, “ambition, fueled by compassion, wisdom, and integrity, is a powerful force for good. It will turn the wheels of industry and open the door of opportunity for you and countless thousands of other people. But fueled by greed and the lust for power, ambition is a destructive force that ultimately does irreparable damage to the individual in its grasp and to the people within its reach.”

Why do we want that promotion or raise? Do we want the added authority or income for greedy ambition or is our motivation truly for good ambition?

Where does such compassion, wisdom, and integrity come from? For me it comes from following Jesus.

The bible teaches us that whatever work we set out to do to do it as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24). It also teaches us not to be greedy and power hungry (Pilippians 2:3) and that we can’t serve both God and money at the same time (Matthew 6:24).

Any work we do might be because we need money. But it doesn’t have to be fueled by that. If we’re truly doing it as unto the Lord then it can be fueled by compassion, wisdom, and integrity while simultaneously providing income. But if it is fueled by money alone it can lead to greed and power struggle which leads to the destruction mentioned earlier.

So one lesson in this is to remind ourselves to constantly consider – how do we keep the proper perspective in whatever we’re doing to make sure our posture is that we’re doing it as unto the Lord rather than as unto selfish desires?

Sometimes we hate the work we’re doing and this can be a good reminding word of encouragement that we’re not doing it for our happiness. We’re doing it in pursuit of Gods holiness and His purpose for our lives. When we truly do that and believe God to guide our direction we can be used in unexpected ways or even see unexpected opportunities come our way. Open your eyes to see how God uses you right where you’re at. How can you do that well one day at a time, starting today?

Life Is Too Short

Life is too short for lots of things, and lately I’m overwhelmed with that reality.  There’s always something worse to imagine going through than what we’re currently experiencing, and those thoughts might help us cope, but when we’re going through anything tough it can be a harsh reminder to do more…living.

March 26th is normally a wonderful day of celebration for my wife’s, Shawna, birthday.  But this March 26th will forever be marked as the date we lost a very close loved one – our brother (in-law), David Butts.  We are crushed with devastation, and our hearts ache deeply for our sister, Lenae, and their three boys, Gauge, Gavin, & Garen.  No matter how hard we try to love on them and no matter how bad we want to ease their pain, there is nothing we can do to bring David back or replace his love and relationship in their lives.

So many thoughts cross our minds as we think back on our time with David.  We should have ____ more.  The list of things to fill that blank with is endless, and the list of people we could try to fill the blank with is endless.  But life is also too short to try filling that blank with too many things, and it is definitely too short for trying to fill that blank with the wrong people.

As I reflected on that life truth in the days following David’s passing, I thought and prayed that I would live life to the fullest, that I would pursue God’s plan for me – for every relationship, moment, decision.  I live with the attitude that there is always room for improvement, for becoming – whatever we’re becoming.  (I even eluded to that in my talk at David’s memorial service because I believe David was living that way too, whether he knew it or not.)

One area of life I’ve struggled with for years is career.  I’ve known for quite some time that something needs to change.  I’ve felt a calling to something more.  I’ve had opportunities to do things that have helped me develop many skills and qualities.  But I’ve failed to make any significant changes in career path – mostly due to fear of financial failure.  Having these thoughts after our devastating loss I became full of determination to make my existing path look brighter or find another path,  I literally put on my to-do list, “plan talking points for (boss name) – something has to change”.

Before I even got a chance to schedule that conversation, and only a week after the devastating phone call about David’s death, I received another devastating phone call.  It was the boss letting me know that his company, that I’ve loyally served for 11 years, is going out of business.  This came as a complete shock to me because as far as I knew everything was going ok – not great but better than average so far this year for me and for the company too, so I thought.  It doesn’t matter though – the company is closing regardless of the reason, and I am left looking for a job.

Timing can seem crazy, but I believe it’s God’s plan.  Losing my job 8 days earlier might have freaked me out, but that perspective is different when receiving the news on the heals of losing a brother.  Don’t get me wrong – it sucks.  It’s like being kicked while you’re down, but I keep it in perspective by reminding myself it is nothing compared to living in a country where real threats exist – like lions or drug lords.

Apparently, God’s plan is not to stay on the path I was on or to try and fix something that was obviously broken – more than I even realized.  The question now is what exactly is the plan.  I’m completely open and willing to do anything.  Of course, there are certain things that might make more sense than other things but since when did everything God plans for us make sense to us?  No – I’m not limiting my options only to what makes sense.

I’m talking to anyone and everyone.  I’m open to anything.  It’s not all about how much money I can make, but I don’t want to be taken advantage of either.  It’s not all about working for the best company, but I don’t want to be with a losing organization either.  When it’s all said and done I want to be somewhere I feel challenged to continue growing personally, somewhere that wants more out of my qualities than the dollars I can produce, somewhere the people are valued, respected, and trusted, somewhere relationships are genuine and professional, and somewhere family and friends relationships are valued and encouraged.

When I say I’m talking to anyone, I do mean anyone.  I could do pretty much anything.  I’ve done corporate, small business, and ministry work.  I’ve worked in manufacturing process and supply chain management.  I’ve done print industry sales and account management.  I’ve taught and done public speaking.  I’ve overseen web projects, social presence, and other marketing.  I’ve done writing projects.  I’ve lead and managed and participated in team building.  I’ve done finances, forecasting, and strategy.  I love learning, and I love to be challenged.

So, I’m not limiting myself to one particular industry or ministry.  I’m looking for professional challenge, personal growth, and great relationships.  If there’s one thing I have learned from my brother David, it is that life is too short for anything less than…living.

Standing Up to Bullies

It seems bullying is getting a lot of attention these days. We’ve experienced it a little with our kids. The whole idea of bullying wasn’t getting so much attention wayyy back when I was a youngster, but it’s not like bullying is a new thing.

I think the biggest problem is kids aren’t being taught to stand up for what is right. We’re teaching our kids tolerance of everything and then wondering why no one stands up to the bullies of the world. We model for our kids an unwillingness to stand up for ourselves or someone else because of the fear of what our actions might cost us.

The root of this problem, and many other problems in life, is selfishness. The bully is a selfish person, obviously, and I don’t want to get in to all the possible reasons why.  The bottom line is bullies, and lots of other types of narcissist behaviors, all boil down to being selfish.

But isn’t it just as selfish to be aware of bullying and fail to address it? The right thing to do would be to try and stop the bullying. But we’re more concerned about what doing the right thing might cost us than we are about doing the right thing. We’re willing to sacrifice a lifetime of building the character and integrity it takes to do the right thing more than we are willing to sacrifice whatever temporary consequences another person can inflict upon us. This self-preserving mentality is passed on to our kids and they either get bullied or ignore someone else getting bullied, so bullying continues.

There’s a saying, “Nice guys finish last”, and I believe the reason that proves true is because there aren’t enough generally good and nice people willing to stand up for what is right and get back up when a bully knocks them down. What do we have to be afraid of? I’d rather die a torturous death and still have some character and integrity intact than watch bullies beat everyone down my whole life and do nothing about it.

I hope I’m teaching my kids to do what is right no matter the cost.

Keeping It Real Update

Quite some time ago I promised to keep it real on here, and I think I’ve done so to some extent, but it’s time for a big time transparent update because I believe that’s what God wants me to do right now.

If you’ve read our story (either in previous posts on this blog or in the e-book) then you know what my biggest struggle has been for quite some time – I live pretty anxious about finances.  Crazy I know – coming from a guy who has been unbelievably blessed and helps other people get on track.  But none of that means I am perfect or don’t experience setbacks that challenge my faith.

I could write a 5000 word report about all the reasons I’m feeling more pressure right now (business is wildly unpredictable, etc).  But there’s really no good point to make there – that’s life.  The lesson I’m learning (or being reminded of) is, that regardless of how bad financial circumstances get, God is still good and He will provide.  Being overly-stressed about things doesn’t change that, and trying to carry that burden on my own takes away from the glory God gets when we keep our faith in Him.

So I’ve been surrendering all this to God and sharing it with others every chance I get.  The money situation is tighter than it’s been in years and it does stress me out.  At times I believe it is a spiritual attack trying to prevent us from fulfilling a giving commitment we felt lead to make.  Just as there’s a God that loves us there’s an enemy that wants to destroy us.

Regardless of why things aren’t easy right now, my family and I will steward what we’ve been blessed with and keep our commitments.  Whatever the results, we’re keeping our focus on God and our faith in His promises.  So pray for us please.

An Exciting New adVenture

From the time I was in college I’ve dreamed of owning business, and I actually have in various ways – from the mobile car detailing business I did for a couple of years to network marketing programs to consulting, speaking, and project managing as an outside contractor for other businesses (even my sales job is essentially a business of it’s own).  So I am very excited about the newest venture.

Introducing Impact Sport Events, LLC.  Created to make active lifestyle normal and fun for families – Impact Sport Events exists to provide family friendly and fun opportunities to be physically active.  Our core values are centered around faith, family, community, fitness, and fun.  Part of our excitement is also for the opportunity to support RiceBowls.org with portions of our proceeds.

Shamrock-Shuffle-3-14-15The first event we’re directing is the Shamrock Shuffle at Hartwell Dam in Hartwell, GA on March 14, 2015 – a 5k and 1mi Family Fun Run.  It will be a great day to get out and be active, and it will be an honor to have as many of our family and friends there as possible.  So if you can be there please consider coming out and joining in the fun.  Click here to register!

God at Work

God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith Jr is one of my favorite books of all time.  One of the most common questions Christians have is some variation of, “How do I know God’s will for my life?”  That one question leads us to wondering how God is or isn’t using us.  It leads us to thinking we have to be in a full time job (whether paid or volunteer) at a church in order to be ‘doing ministry’.  It causes us to diminish the importance and impact we can have in ‘secular’ or ‘private sector’ jobs.  That one question is all it takes to make us forget the fact that our everyday life is a constant opportunity to minister and have an impact for God.

In God at Work , Gene Veith teaches all about the doctrine of vocation.  It is the idea that God is at work in all things and he chooses to work through human beings serving each other in ordinary life.  There is a wealth of information in this book about the history and purpose of the doctrine of vocation, how it started and how it has changed.  There is tremendous insight about how the doctrine of vocation is alive and applicable in so many different areas of our lives – at work, in the family, in citizenship, and at church.  We all have more opportunity than we can imagine to serve our neighbor and experience the transforming presence of God through our everyday lives.

I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it for everyone to read.

 

Church Marketing – Profit or Truth

There seems to be differences of opinion among Christians and church leaders about the subject of church marketing and the idea of “selling Jesus for profit.”  One side of the argument is all about any and all fresh new marketing and sales techniques to draw people in and sell the hope, love, and forgiveness we all have through Jesus Christ.  The other side of the argument is all about letting the gospel speak for itself without so much focus on profit or numbers.

Of course both sides want to keep it about the main thing – reaching people for Jesus, but both sides are throwing stones (which Jesus would have frowned on).  The “profit” side accuses the “truth” side of being irrelevant, or even dead, or some other harsh judgement of ministry effectiveness.  The “truth” group accuses the “profit” group of selling Jesus as a product rather than a savior – being driven by fame and fortune driven rather than Jesus.

I’ve listened to both sides and actually gone to their churches to experience the differences in how they both do ministry.  It doesn’t take long to notice that both sides have valid claims about each other.  There are churches that seem irrelevant and dying, and there are churches who seem more concerned about profit than people.  The question I have is whether or not anyone who speaks up is examining their own hearts about the matter and using discernment to guide a productive conversation rather than allowing judgement to become condemnation.

Do we really believe the churches who don’t focus on marketing are ALL irrelevant and complacent?  Do we really believe the churches who do focus on marketing are ALL profit driven with no real concern for souls?  Of course not – both of those are extreme.  But are we making broad statements that throw everyone on either side into the same bucket of badness?  Absolutely.

I personally believe the public back and forth about church marketing is ridiculous.  Churches need to make a profit so that there are more financial resources to do more ministry, and it is not wrong for church leaders (AND STAFF) to be blessed financially.  Churches need to keep the heart of the ministry about the gospel and teaching truth even when it doesn’t sell books or tickets to the next popularity contest.  The good news is there is a way everyone can help each other do both profit and truth better.  Start by stopping the fighting.

If we truly are concerned that a particular church or leader is failing in any way shouldn’t we reach out to help them, encourage them, or challenge them?  Shouldn’t we be able to do that in a loving way?  Can’t we do it privately?  If we truly are concerned about our own church and how we lead shouldn’t we be willing to reach out for others help and constructive feedback?  Shouldn’t we be willing to listen?  Can we swallow our pride?

Stop and challenge your self the next time you hear a debate, or think an argumentative thought of your own, about whether or not a church’s marketing is motivated by profit or truth.  Is the heart behind your thoughts motivated by selfish desire to somehow be right or recognized, or do you truly just want to further God’s kingdom by strengthening His church.

 

The Heart of a Teacher

Has anyone ever asked you the question, “What is the one thing you would do every day if you could?”  When I was seriously challenged with that question recently I couldn’t help but default to a generic answer that I feel didn’t get the point across.

I’ve thought a lot about what am I excited about, passionate about, and what has God been preparing me to do for him.  The one thing that I love to do is teach.  Not as in school teacher, not even class-style of any type necessarily.  I love equipping others to do more than they were able to do before.

When I was really challenged with the question I couldn’t think of anything else to say except something that came out like this, “teach – if I could do the same thing every day it would just be teach.”  What I meant by that is way more broad than how I said it.  If I could say it again I might list some ways to apply the heart of a teacher:

  •  large group teaching
  •  1 on 1 teaching
  •  teaching others to teach
  •  social media and web engagement with people
  •  all things related to writing and material development for teaching
  •  development of all things technology related to teaching delivery methods
  •  leading group efforts to make it all excellent (because I can’t do ALL the stuff it takes to make all that excellent)

Maybe next time I’m presented with a question like that I’ll be better prepared to answer.  Now if I can just find a way to make everything I currently do more geared toward the heart I have for teaching and helping people…