day 2884: Speak Up
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”
We many times think of “speaking up” being for those in what we might call the bigger societal issues and causes. And yes we should, but we also need to be attuned and open to those within our workplaces who might be the victims of injustice or feel helpless to speak up for themselves. I was having a conversation over the weekend with the Chair of a Board and she was describing that she feels that in the virtual work environment that it is becoming harder and harder for people to speak up about a problem or an issue that they are facing. I got thinking about that too and can see how someone who can’t just walk down the hall and close the door and sit with someone else and talk out a problem, might just keep it to themselves and as the problem festers they feel more and more helpless to finding a resolution. This is only exacerbated with conflict or mistreatment from another employee. It begs the question on how conflict resolution channels can best be opened up so that issues are highlighted quickly and effectively.
In Proverbs we are challenged to the be the ones who speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. To follow this takes an extreme amount of empathy and commitment to caring and working on the behalf of others. It’s easy to dismiss the needs of others with “they should just speak up”. It’s way harder to spend the time to understand whether or not they actually can, or can’t speak up and if not, then step in and speak up for them. If we love God and love others, it’s a Proverb that can’t be ignored.
Reference: Proverbs 31: 8-9 (New Living Translation)
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day 2883: Changing Colors
“As the light approaches, the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal; it is robed in brilliant colors.”
Who thought that a pandemic could sway our color choices? But, I guess it makes sense because once you stare at the same four walls for months at a time, up comes a desire for anything different and any change. So, the paint colors that were the rage in 2019 are gone already. “The grey from the twenty-teens,” said Garry Cohn, an independent designer and color expert for Curator. “Everyone has pushed that aside.” Browns and reds are out, too. What we want on our walls now are blues and greens; organic neutrals; and a handful of bold pinks, yellows, and purples that Cohn classifies as “escapism.” Glossy paint is also in maybe because we want anything bright and shiny right now. Consumer behavior is fickle, but once a shift starts to be made, watch out. It goes fast.
Maybe it is not a surprise that one of the few times that the word color is used in the Bible is in the book of Job. The times we are in and the challenges we feel today have been compared to a Job-ian experience. So, maybe in the worst of times, a little color can make a difference. A guest on The Faith Driven Entrepreneur podcast said, “God’s favorite color is transparency”. It has stuck with me as we so many times see people do one thing and say another and our opinion can get colored, but that is not what God desires. He wants us to be transparent and only focused on standing in the light of Him, which as we know is brilliant beyond our imagination.
Reference: Job 38:14 (New Living Translation)
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day 2882: Guideposts
“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came.”
Why do we need guideposts? Last week, Patti and I and our next door neighbors here in Rhode Island, where we are now, traveled to upstate New York for a couple of days to get a change of scenery (beautiful fall colors). New York has Rhode Island on its “COVID Quarantine List” so we were not allowed to go to restaurants or interact with other people, so we holed up at Patti’s family’s Country House and all we did was hike each each day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. It was great and very refreshing for the mind and body. Along the vast trails we saw many guideposts marking our path for us. What I realized is that these guideposts are important for getting to where you want to go, but more so, critical for getting back to where you started. It made me think that in the world of business, we spend a lot of time talking about where we want to go, but little time in keeping ourselves grounded in where we might need to return. It might be that the failure of Quibi was such a cautionary tale. They kept trying to become more and more and once they were too far out there, it became impossible to return to where they started. Too much money and too much time spent for too little results. They had no guideposts to keep them from going too far from where they had to return.
The Prophet Jeremiah told us the importance of putting out our own guideposts so that if we become lost, disoriented, or even distracted we can find our way back. This is an instruction for each of us. We likely each have our own unique guideposts to mark our paths, but whatever we use it is important to have them. I find myself easily distracted with all that is swirling around me. And with distraction can come a veering off course that is unintended. And with the busyness of life I will look up and not even recognize where I am. It is then that the guideposts of God’s Word and teachings provide me a direction back. In the times we are in, our own guideposts may become even more essential to our life journey.
Reference: Jeremiah 31:21 (New Life Translation)
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day 2881: Retention
“At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.”
The business cycle, as we know, goes through stages. We expand and then we contract, over and over. And, so goes our talent cycles. We acquire and then we divest. Somewhere in there we also pay attention to the retention of those we don’t want to leave, or we will say we “can’t afford” to lose these certain people. And, so we then pay attention to retaining those employees and focus on their needs, desires and dreams. The U.S. economy contracted and we all hope and pray for a recovery, but for right now, we are seeing more attention on retaining the talent that we have versus out hiring more. There are many strategies for retaining people but I think in this time of virtual working that there’s never been a more important time than now to focus on matching the values and principles of a company and their people. For what we believe in is what we want to be a part of. What we don’t, or when we see conflict between our values and principles and what an organization espouses, we either won’t join, or if we are already there, we will look for someplace else to spend our time. Companies “can’t afford” to lose great people. Great people “won’t spend” their time or energy with those whom they don’t align at the core of who they are.
Jesus gave us the metaphor of the lost sheep and how even one mattered so greatly. But, He also recognized that we are not always wandering sheep. We can also be deliberate leavers. Jesus challenged His Disciples at the core of their beliefs and some just left. Because they were called His Disciples, they had obviously already made a choice to join up with Jesus, but as they got closer and time went on, the matching of their beliefs didn’t match up with what Jesus told them, and they left Him. What I take from this is that Jesus was telling us that He wants to retain each and every one of us as His, but it still comes down to us and the choices that we make. He is the God of retention but He is also the God that allows us to personally choose to be retained, or not. It’s up to us.
Reference: John 6:66 (New Living Translation)
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day 2880: One Day At A Time
“Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there’s no use arguing with God about your destiny.”
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that every company and organization is right now struggling to see what the future portends. With so much uncertainty it’s hard to see even around the corner, much less cast a vision that looks out years, or even months. But, that doesn’t mean that we still aren’t supposed to try. Today is the present. Tomorrow is the future even though it is a small step forward. So, planning tomorrow, even if that is all we have right now, is moving us forward. So, one day at a time might be exactly what is needed right now.
I’m probably not alone in questioning God on what He is up to right now? Is it judgement? Is is it testing us? Or is it readying us for a moment that can only be explained by what God can do? Or is it all of the above? Does it matter really? Ecclesiastes is always good for settling us down when we’ve reached that point when we are about to throw our hands up in the air and say, “I give”. Pretty simple message: “There’s no use arguing with God about your destiny”. When we get to that place of acceptance, then we can just turn it over to Him because we know He wants only the best for us and He gives that to us, even if only one day at a time.
Reference: Ecclesiastes 6:10 (New Living Translation)
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