Friday, April 30, 2010

Trust Me

I ask that you trust me.

Will you?

I hope so. Someday.

But only when I earn it.

Same goes with you.

Ask me to trust you and I will. Someday.

When you earn it.

'Trust me' doesn't square well in our drive-thru-grab-a-burger culture. To earn your trust I'll do two things,

Go slow.

Be honest.

In other words, earn it.

Smart people say we live in the attention age.

I say we live in the distortion age. A moment when truth struggles amid spinners, dissemblers, liars.

Big government wants my trust. Its done everything possible this century to crush my belief.

Big business wants my trust. There's a new GM ad where the CEO swaggers about his shop floor bragging he's repaid taxpayers in full, ahead of time and with interest.

First time I saw this ad was during MEET THE PRESS just minutes after a leading US Senator declared GM would never repay all it owes. Trouble buying the word of a car pitchman and a politician on a Sunday morning news show? No news there.

My Church wants me to trust that Jesus walked on water. Really? It'd be neat to ask the Pope about that.

Oh, wait, that won't work. I trust him and his boys as much as big government and big business honchos.

How about Joe the Regular Guy? He wants to rant about how great or how crappy the big health care bill is. He wants to use up my time and hold my trust reciting talking points he boosted from some talking TV talk show head. Sometimes I am Joe.

This is my favorite question of 2010,

"Have you read the whole health care bill?"

If so, you've earned my trust and you can use up my time. If not, please stop talking at me.

It's been a quiet spring. I wonder.

Will you trust me? Will I trust you?

Hope so. God help us.

Until we earn it.


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Friday, April 23, 2010

You An App Yet?

I don't have a bank anymore. Nope. I have an app.

New York Times used to be my morning newspaper. Not anymore. Now it's my morning app.

Seth Godin? Once upon a time he was a great blogger. Now he's a great app.

Is your business an app yet?

Even better, anyone in your business an app yet?

If I was a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a sales guy, a customer service rep, a member of Congress, or anyone else who has a brain and uses it at work, I'd turn myself into an app asap.

If I was a doctor app I could scale myself and help people with daily health tips all day and all night.

Who knows how healthy my patients would be if my daily doctor app made a house call on their hand-held device asking "So, what did you eat today?" Or "How did you exercise today?" Or "How much you weighing these days?"

If I was a lawyer app my best counsel to the best questions people asked at my office each week could be posted and available.

Imagine containing the knowledge of our complicated legal system AND the expensive billing rate of your lawyer in the palm of your hand someday.

And what if teachers and professors were all apps with daily lessons for students at their school, and the school at the next town over, and maybe the next state over and even the next country over?

Forget tight budgets. What school administrator's going to lay off a teacher who's an app?

Sales guys and customer service reps as apps would be a dream come true for people about to buy or who just bought your product. Customers and prospects always need more info.

If everyone in your sales-and-service force became the go-to apps in your industry, what's the competition going to do? No telling how how sales will grow when you've made each of your sales and services reps' into idea and knowledge apps that are infinitely scaleable and uniquely personal.

Oh, and how great would it be if everyone in Congress was an app? Wouldn't you love the chance to delete your Congress-person when he or she got buggy?

We'd all be a lot smarter and way more productive if we could extend and monitor ourselves, and analyze our interactions as an app.

Imagine all this thoughtfulness available and delivered to dozens, hundreds, thousands of people wanting, needing to tap into each of our unique gifts.

Imagine all the valuable information that forms around you the app, and your community.

If I was starting a business today I might start The App Shop. Like the Apple Store, The App Shop would be a place you'd walk into. Where you could find smart people behind the Human Bar to give you a helping hand when you wish to be an app for this or that.

Smart people say we've entered the knowledge economy.

I wonder if becoming an app is the smart way of setting up shop these days.


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Friday, April 16, 2010

Moral Compass

Some guy I know said the other day he was looking at a new job. Sounded like a plum assignment with a cool firm on a growth shot.

"So what's your take?" I asked.

"Some guy said the CEO has a weak moral compass. I can't get that thing out of my head," this guy said.


Tough thing to take in a rough economy.

"Great gig. But how do you sign up for a place where the leader has moral compass issues?" he said.

Simple question. Should be a simple answer, right? But, oh my, what a tough call in a double-digit jobless economy.

Good thing that thing stuck in my friend's head. That's what poet Jim Moore says,

"Love the thing inside us that feels no need to move."

There's no shortage of stories on the 10pm TV news and sports these days featuring honchos and hotshots guided by a weak moral compass. Guys who ignored that thing inside.

Before I sign on to follow, fan, friend, adore someone maybe it'd be a good thing to ask,

"Which way's the moral compass pointing here?"

Mine. And the other guy's.


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Friday, April 9, 2010


“Our ability to love well is directly related to our ability to receive love well...”

This is a line Paul Coutinho SJ, the Jesuit priest and author from India, said to me the other day.

Oh my!

How foreign this idea. How counter-cultural. An eastern thought from an Indian Jesuit for me, a western fellow.

If that thought is true, maybe this one is too,

Our ability to live well is directly related to our ability to receive life well.

“Receiving’s not a guy thing,” I said to Fr. Coutinho. He chuckled a bit.

I wasn’t joking.

I’m built to give, not receive. How much of my day is spent giving, delivering, providing? Like most guys, that’s my typical day. On the other hand, how much of my day is spent receiving? Little, maybe. None, probably.

Ours is a noisy, busy, distracting world. Full of doing, going, getting, grinding. Maybe there’s a new way to think here; about living closer to this word, receiving.

What if I make a habit of asking myself and others, "So, what have you received today?"

During last week’s ramp-up to Easter, my mind kept thinking about that "washing of feet" scene in the Bible. I've never thought much of this scene before. It's kind of gross, frankly. Two guys, two thousand years ago. Arguing over whose going to wash who's stinky, dirty, worn-out, gross, desert feet.

But the more I replayed that scene, I saw a big lesson, one that reflects Paul Coutinho’s words to me.

The One who’s beyond this world, Jesus, lays a simple yet profound message on one of his guys, Peter. Brother, quit arguing with Me. You need to give it up. You need to let Me wash your feet. You need to RECEIVE Me.

I'm a lot like Peter. No one's washing my feet. Yuck! No one's touching my gross feet connected to my gross hairy legs and my gross slightly paunchy body and my gross everything else.

You see where this is going?

Maybe Paul Coutinho’s words are an important present-day invitation to a guy, who's working to balance being a decent husband, dad, son, the kind of invitation that’s been handed out over the ages, even way back to a guy who happened to lead a bunch of apostles, an invitation that guys like me have had immense trouble embracing over the ages in our busy, noisy, distracting world of We the Living.

Maybe it’s an invitation to let it go. All of it.

Maybe it's time to learn how to receive.

Maybe it’s time to let Life wash my feet.