Vision to Action: A Framework to Structure Your Company’s Growth

The 4-E (and 1-P) Framework for Hiring

In his book, Winning, Jack Welch describes the following criteria (framework) he developed over time for hiring good people:index

  1. E – for positive energy: the ability to go go go – to thrive on action and relish change.
  2. E – ability to energize others: the ability to get other people revved up.
  3. Eedge: the ability to make tough yes-or-no decisions.
  4. Eexecute: the ability to get the job done.
  5. Ppassion: heartfelt, deep and, authentic excitement about work.


Your #2014LLE Learnings are in: Relationship Lessons Dominate!

First and foremost, Happy New Year! I hope it’s gotten off to a great start. I especially appreciate your faithfulness in coming to Blue Ink and sharing your thoughts. I hope it continues to be a source of inspiration and encouragement for the coming year.

In my previous December-post I made the case for first “looking back” to identify lessons-learned before “looking forward,” and jumping-in to the traditional rhythm of defining resolutions and goals for the new year.

I took it a step further by challenging you to exchange lessons with others to enrich your learning experience even further – thus the kickoff of #2014LLE – the 2014 Lessons Learned Exchange.

The results are in and the response was amazing! I’m impressed by the time many of you took to share very personal reflections and thoughts – thank you! What stood out as a central theme was your focus on relationships – communication, sensitivity, resolving conflict, support, etc. (important!…and likely a subject of a future post).


Here’s a quick summary of the main points via direct quotes from your comments (for the full text see the comment section of the last post):

  1. Give it all You’ve Got (no holding back)the biggest lesson I learned in 2014 is that there is no value in holding back. Most of my life, I have been a person who gives less than everything. This year, I learned that the only way to approach life is to give everything you have in any relationship or endeavor that is placed before you. (David)
  2. Have a Plan, but be Flexibleone of the biggest lessons learned in 2014 has been the importance of combining strategic planning/goal setting with flexibility. Having a plan is vitally important and gives me direction, momentum, and purpose. At the same time, I realized more than ever in the past 12 months that any plan must adapt and evolve along the way. (Joshua)
  3. It’s Not About Youpeople don’t care how you feel, they care how you make them feel. Actions and emotions can have an unintentional ripple effect – even when the ‘expresser’ has moved on…You can choose to be right or be in a relationship (at work, home, etc.) but not both. (Kenneth)
  4. Take the First Stepthe key to initiating something is taking the first step – even if it’s a wrong one (which could mean criticism!) and you have to make a course correction (Kenneth)
  5. Gift of Emotion, & Mercy of GodI have seen how outright calamity and the disappointments of life have directly affected those close to me. Something I have grown to appreciate this year is the supremacy of Christ, and the mercy God has given us. I learned that the challenge is not to internalize our emotions, but to manage them in the proper way as to glorify God and refresh our spirit. (Jack)
  6. “Oops I Messed Up” – this year I have learned its OK to say “Oops I messed up”! If you truly feel the decision you are making is the best decision then I say go for it. If it doesn’t work out then SO WHAT! What’s the worst that can happen if it doesn’t work out? You have to apologize? You have to start over? (Brandalyn)
  7. The Power of a Support Team in Crisisone of the GREATEST lessons that I learned this year is that when in a CRISIS assemble a TEAM! YOU need to be open and look around, be humble and gracious enough to accept the care from people who you never thought can step up in this type of a situation. (Geoff)
  8. You Have a Unique Gift to Givemy gift to my friend is the gift of myself. It’s my time, my smile, my cheerfulness, my caring. Each of us has our own love language – that’s why friendships are special. (Lydia)
  9. Waiting for the Right Friendships: One of the biggest surprises in 2014 were several friendships that developed. I’ve learned that friendships are worth waiting for God’s timing. Some come so unexpectedly and I couldn’t be more thankful. (Elizabeth)

If you weren’t able to participate, or have something to add, don’t hesitate to jump in. It’s never to late to learn…and, it’s vitally important. The quote by G Santayana (cited in the last post) sums it up best: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.”


“#2014LLE” – 2014 Lessons Learned Exchange (Take the Challenge!)

What? Hash-tags on this blog…”I thought I’d never see the day” (you’re probably thinking). Well this post is different. Rather than just providing content (as I regularly attempt to do), I’m issuing a challenge directly to you…to take a step often overlooked…causing many to undermine their chances of even starting the new year “on the right foot.” Sufficiently confused (or interested)? Let me demystify…

Tis’ the season for new years’ resolutions – the key to focus, achievement, happiness and all things good…right? In fact if you “google it” you’ll get 35.8 million “results” on great techniques, processes, methods, etc. What could I possibly add (…that I haven’t already)? I won’t.

Rather I submit that the prerequisite for all the elaborate goal-setting-, mapping- and strategizing- techniques is to have an accurate read on your starting point…which is, in fact, your “ending point.” In other words – taking an inventory of where you are today and what lessons you’ve learned that will enable you to be more successful in the future.


What if you don’t? George Santayana, the well known Harvard professor and philosopher, said it best: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.”

So here’s the challenge…take a few minutes to think over the past year – adversity, successes, relationships… – all of it. Then quickly jot down the main feelings and insights that come to mind. Finally, once you have the list, clean-up, combine, refine, etc. and distill into the key lessons learned you want to hold on to.

THEN, take the challenge…SHARE your lessons learned in the comments to this post…even if it’s just one. Why? First, writing it here means you’ve taken it seriously and actually done it, versus giving yourself a pass. Second, the best learning is often what we learn from each other…so enrich others by making yourself vulnerable and sharing; and be enriched thanks to the vulnerability of others.

To give you some “starter fluid” and to practice what I’ve preached, here’s my gift of vulnerability in the form of my 8 lessons learned in 2014 in the first comment below:

(click on comment link above, under the title…)

Well, now that I’ve “put myself out there…” I ask you to take up the challenge to share one or more things you’ve learned in 2014. In fact, when you’re done, take it to the next level and challenge someone else to share theirs in the post comments!

The BIG GOAL: to have between 20 and 14 people join the exchange (numbers not a coincidence, but happy to see even more). This means at least 20 to 14 sets of lessons learned – a “mini-wikipedia” full of fresh, first-hand insights, wisdom and knowledge…and with YOU as a contributing author (and benefactor!).

(if you’d still like advice on taking the next step of setting goals you can check out one of the 35.8 million other viewpoints online…or just stay on this blog, subscribe and read your fill – here’s a few to get you started…but, most importantly, thanks for being here and…)

…I wish you a blessed 2015! Can’t wait to read and be enriched by your #2014LLE…


(Part 5) Is Your Team Cleared for Takeoff? “Top 5″ on Your Pre-Flight Checklist…

Want your team to take off? Then make sure you understand and execute on the checklist…Below you’ll find a description of the fifth and final checkpoint identified in the course of my experience with a particularly high-performing team. In case you missed the previous ones, click on the link at the bottom of the post to see the others.


5. Face-to-Face Time Together

Although the communication tools of today are incredible, nothing to date has been invented that replaces the “bond” established through face-to-face contact. The “stewing” and thought-saturation that occurs as a team works together on a topic for hours at a time is worth gold. It is an important “force of alignment” and driver of creativity that is dangerous to short-cut. To go even further, the occasional “spice” of a completely divergent hallway conversation, coffee break or after-hours dinner can be “the secret sauce” that really helps the team gel. After all, it’s no different than any other relationship….the more time spent together in various circumstances the stronger and more resilient it will be.

As you consider how to take tangible steps to motivate and inspire your team, remember that the propellant that drives the engine is not perfection but sincerity. You’re not after stimulants that come across as fake “mood boosters”, rather focus on genuine versions of these “thrusters” that are certain to strike a cord in the heart of your team and make it “take-off.” The well-known 19th century English politician and author, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, eloquently summed it up when he wrote: “Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity and truth accomplishes no victories without it.”