Building Bridges, not Burning Them

When I graduated from Dixie State College a very influential guy named Thomas S. Monson spoke at the commencement ceremony. He based his remarks on the poem by Will Allen Dromgoole entitled “The Bridge Builder.” This poem, and the talk that it inspired, are powerful. It sheds a beautiful light on service-based leadership and illustrates the importance building bridges instead of burning them. Here it is for your reading pleasure:

THE BRIDGE BUILDER

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim-
That sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when he reached the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting strength in building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head.
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”

-WILL ALLEN DROMGOOLE

Book Review: Management Lessons From Mayo Clinic

Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic: Inside One of the World's Most Admired Service OrganizationsManagement Lessons from Mayo Clinic: Inside One of the World’s Most Admired Service Organizations by Leonard L. Berry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! Healthcare can be a discouraging and even depressing industry to work in. It’s so refreshing and encouraging to learn about about a healthcare system that places high importance on culture and people.

Mayo Clinic is an incredible success story and I thought it was fascinating to dissect their methods and learn from their success. I would love to work at a place like Mayo.

View all my reviews

The Power of Happiness

I just wrote a research paper for my organizational behavior MBA class about happiness. Apparently happiness and positivity are more important and more rare than we ever thought. I’d love to get some thoughts/feedback on my paper. this is a topic I find absolutely fascinating.

Proceed to the aforementioned paper by clicking here: The Power of Happiness

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

I would like to submit to you that leaders and executives do little more than solve lots of big-hairy-complicated-messy problems and collect huge pay checks. So, if you don’t like problem solving then maybe leadership just isn’t for you. Or…………. maybe you just need to find a better way to solve your problems.

The problem with problem solving
I love to be creative and come up with answers on my own. It’s very satisfying to know that I applied my brain to a scenario and thought of the best solution all by my “big boy” self. I do this at school, at home, while driving, playing a game/sport, and just about every other conceivable situation. The only problem with doing this is that it’s a massive waste of time and energy. It’s like trying to re-invent the wheel every time a problem arises.

A better way
I’ve been realizing lately that I’m not the first person to be a husband, or a father, or a student, or……… anything for that matter (It’s been a hard realization). There are so many experts on every topic that it’s silly to think that my problems are unique to me alone. Why not consult these experts and learn about the wheels that have already been invented?

Examples
I’ve been trying to recognize and practice this concept lately with some interesting results:

1. Whenever my wife and I go to a new restaurant I feel overwhelmed by the number and variety of options on the menu. I take it upon myself to diligently research every option so that we can make informed decisions on this important edible investment. This takes up precious time and brain energy and is difficult to do before the server wants to take our order. I end up tired and stressed, while my sweet patient wife tries not to get annoyed at my anal retentiveness. Lately I’ve made an effort to change my methods and it has greatly improved our culinary experience. Now I simply ask the server what the two or three most popular dishes are and choose one. The results? My decisions are made much faster and easier, and the meals generally much tastier too. I’ve decided that it’s important to give the server and the other customers credit for having taste buds and brains even if they’re not as superior and intelligent as mine (that was joke).

2. I just saw the awesome movie Moneyball and really enjoyed it. I loved the creative problem solving that is used to re-evaluate baseball players’ relative value. I did some research and found that, interestingly, Billy Beane was not the creator of sabermetrics, nor was he the first manager to utilize sabermetric principles. In fact, his predecessor, Sandy Alderson, had been using them for three years before Beane became the general manager of the Oakland A’s. However, Beane is credited as the father of sabermetrics. He does speaking engagements all across the country, and had an awesome movie made after him (Brad Pitt’s finest work.) But all he did was take an existing and proven theory and put it to work.

So What?
The next time you have a problem to solve, first find out if it’s been solved before. Who knows, you might become a hero just by doing what’s already been done.

Scriptural support
1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

Comments: Agree or disagree? Have you ever solved a problem this way before? How did it go for you?

Want to get Richer? Then Give More Away

What? Giving money away makes you richer? That can’t be right, it seems a little counter-intuitive doesn’t it? That’s what Syracuse University economics professor Arthur C. Brooks used to think. Then he did some digging. After years of research he found that those who donate their time and money (and blood, believe it or not) earn more money as a direct result of their charitable giving. He found this to be true across every income level and country.  But don’t take my word for it, read his own compelling (if not life-changing) words by clicking here.

The above link is talk that Brooks gave in 2009 at BYU. This talk resonated deeply with me when I read it. It articulates exactly what I want to do and become – both personally and professionally. He says that “acts of charity-giving money, serving others, even donating blood-create a remarkable return, lifting us spiritually and financially.” If that’s not the creed of “enlightened leadership” and stamping out corruption then I don’t know what is!

Scriptural Support:
This sounds like a direct fulfillment of Malachi 3:10 that says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

In other words, the more you give the more you get. Thank you Dr. Brooks for helping us to prove the usefulness of biblical principles in business and leadership!

Comments: Has this ever happened to you? Why does giving make you richer?

The Business of Spaghetti Sauce

Is there anything better than your favorite spaghetti sauce? Ok maybe. But, spaghetti sauce has to be in your top 10 at least! The only question is ……. Prego vs. Ragu?

Check out this informative (if not life-changing) Ted Talk by Malcolm Gladwell and see what conclusion you come to.

Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce

Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith”