The Trilogy of Mercy

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The trilogy of mercy are three works inspired by Scripture that wrestles with the mandate of love your neighbor. They are,

  1. What would Jesus say, if he was just like us?

  2. Jesus did not say (which speaks to no qualifications or disclaimers on his love)

  3. The saga of the least of these

These poems are present in the book Daily Resurrections. The book is not a devotional, but it can be used that way. The title refers to the signature poem covering points during the day and during our lives when we are submerged and immersed in situations from which will rise.

Intellectually, we submit to the basic tenets of love and forgiveness. We accept that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. However, we must be reminded about mercy and how it goes hand in hand with love and forgiveness.

The first installment of the trilogy is a poem entitled What would Jesus say, if he was just like us? The poem is good for personal reflection and a group discussion. There is an irony in us expecting good things from God when we are reluctant to have His goodness trickle down from us to our neighbors.

 

If Jesus was just like us,

What would he do?

There is a matter I would like to discuss

What would Jesus do if he was like us?

Would he forgive unconditionally,

Or from a list he formed on Calvary?

He said, “Come to me all who are heavy laden

And I will give you rest.”

But would he make us fill out forms

And pass a series of tests?

And based on our affiliations,

Affinities, addresses and how we live,

Would he base reconciliation

On if he thought us worthy, to forgive?

If Jesus was just like us I wonder

About self serving parties to mark his reign,

Commanding the lightning and thunder

As miracles for personal gain.

Would he choose disciples by their net worth,

Socialize with an exclusive crowd,

Suggest we store treasures here on earth

As pompous, privileged ones and the proud?

To those who took the more traveled road,

For beating the system would he reward

Those who took short cuts to lighten their load

By throwing their good neighbors overboard?

What would Jesus do if he was like us?

Would grace be earned and favor granted?

Do you think he would be inclined,

To answer prayers with the favors slanted

To those with nice bodies, pure souls and minds?

Touch the hem of his garment for a price

Or sell tickets to let the spirit in;

Would he pose as the perfect sacrifice?

Would he do anything to save his skin?

 

There would be no need for confession

He’d love us only if and only when

We blame others for indiscretions

And go cold turkey to curb our sin.

Free will eliminated or curtailed;

Abandons when there is an accuser;

A constant companion until we fail;

To not associate with a loser.

Would he charge for frequency and length of prayers;

Score the difficulty of each request.

Pledge to stay out of earthly affairs

Because after all, The Father knows best?

What would Jesus do if he was like us?

Ten commandments and sermons on the mount

Would be delivered if the speaker’s fee

Was high enough to take into account

The distance he traveled through the galaxy?

Copyright © 2008 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Daily Resurrections

By Orlando Ceaser

Available at OrlandoCeaser.com and amazon.com

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com and poetry at watchwellinc.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 29 – Burnout

Scrolls Burnout

 Burnout occurs when we try to do all things and be all things to all people. When we bite off more than we can chew and much more than we can digest. When we are running 100 miles an hour and need to reduce speed and take a rest, but we ignore the warning sign and keep going. Burnout occurs when we fail to acquire the skill to shape our lips and say No.

Burnout has three definitions that I would like for us to consider. The first two are from the Oxford dictionary.

  1. the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion.

  2. the failure of an electrical device or component through overheating.

The third is from http://www.helpguide.org which defines burnout asa state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. … Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.”

Together these definitions describe a situation where an individual is physically and psychologically drained. This is not a desirable state in high performance individuals or organizations. We are more productive and more valuable to our company and families if we develop strategies to preserve our overall health.

I coined the phrase, “we will kill you if you let us.” This was spoken because I saw people with good intentions, deny their families, allow the workplace to encroach into their living rooms by failing to structure their time and priorities properly. They refused to delegate or ask for help when the workload was too high.

When the burden is great and before it is too late, we must slow down. Review the poem, Slow Down and make a list of tactics you will use to improve work/ life effectiveness. This is a phrase that many organizations use instead of work life balance, because they realize that balance may not be possible.

 

Slow down

How many signals do you need?
A mind is tired,
A body fatigued;
A heart is idling
At high speeds;
As you push harder
To succeed.

You’ve seen examples
Of careers,
That crashed and burned
In overdrive.
You’ve seen the sorrow
In your peers,
Who lived each day,
But never alive.

You better slow down
Before you go down
For the count.
You’re running red lights
And go to bed nights
With what amounts
To a weary heart.

How long have you seen
Warning signs?
How long have you been
Scorning signs?
You awake and
The morning lines,
Are unkind,
For you can’t unwind.

You better slow down
And get the low down
On your soul.
Don’t let the red zone
Lead to a headstone
On the goal.

How many signals do you need?
A mind is tired,
A body fatigued;
A heart is idling
At high speeds;
Create the balance
And succeed.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership Above The Rim

By Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. What can you do today to slow down?

  2. What activities can you remove from your plate as you delegate?

  3. Who do you know that has a reputation for being well organized?

  4. What books or other resources can you on time management?

  5. How do you prioritize what’s important to accomplish?

  6. How can you need more of your work at work?

  7. Do you schedule time with your family?

  8. Do you schedule time with your spouse to decompress and relax?

Working Weekend

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 26 – Arrogance

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Pharmaceutical sales representatives are familiar with the customer referred to as the “Know-it-all doctor.” The connotation was not just a physician who knew everything, but an individual who was arrogant and spoke to people in a condescending manner. There was a feeling of superiority which made it difficult to deal with others. The air of arrogance made it hard to be effective as a leader. The person who knows everything and feels no one can teach them anything, is difficult to talk to and may not be open to receiving important information.

Many times, we use arrogance to cover-up for an insecurity. We don’t want people to recognize a deficiency in some aspect of our behavior and we do not wish to be challenged. On other occasions we do not wish to be questioned because we feel we are better than everyone. Humility is not a skill that makes them comfortable.

When you make the commitment to move beyond arrogance, it must be done with authenticity. Here is an example of what not to do. A manager received feedback that addressed his arrogance of feeling he was always right. It revealed that he did not listen to his direct reports, did not solicit their comments, but when they were given, he would not value or use them. It was described as follows.

He would adopt the stance of a good listener, someone concerned about his staff’s point of view. He would lean forward, establish direct eye contact and use transitional phrases such as, go on, is that so, I did not know that and tell me more. At the conclusion, he would thank them for their courage and valuable input. He would close by saying, he was glad to have the opportunity to know how they felt, but he would continue with his idea and the original plan. His subordinates were confused and wondered why ask for their opinions and bother going through such a pointless exercise. His actions curtailed their ideas and reduced trust. Why give comments if they did not matter?

Personalize your actions to prevent arrogant behavior by focusing on these areas.

  1. Beware of arrogant tendencies.

  2. Listen to others.

  3. Involve others in your decision making

  4. Include their ideas to show you value their suggestions

  5. Do not respond in a threatening manner when you don’t like what you hear

People do not wish to support the arrogant person. They may withhold information. They may watch someone go down the wrong path and remain silent. They will surely not give them their best effort. They will do just enough to keep their jobs. They will engage in OMDB (Over My Dead Body) behavior and thinking. Review the poem below and reflect on it and discuss with others.

Many of us may be blind to our arrogant ways. In order to change we must be open to critical remarks without taking them personally. Act as if people may feel you are arrogant, and request insight. A manager read the poem below and was offended, for it struck a nerve. He was offended by the content because he thought I was speaking to him. However, members of his staff contacted me and confirmed that it was an accurate depiction of his arrogant leadership style. Let’s act as if this might be the case. Remove personal anxiety and allow people the opportunity to give you comments that are good for everyone.

You Might Not Be A Leader

You may have been a superstar in sales;

An individual who never fails,

But, if you can’t ensure the group prevails,

You might not be a leader.

If vision is absent and no one cares,

If knowledge is power, you will not share;

If you look behind you and no one’s there;

You might not be a leader.

If you did not earn stripes or pay your dues;

If faced with decisions, you fail to choose;

If people ask for help and you refuse,

You might not be a leader.

A passive aggressive management style,

If your deficiencies are in denial;

Too selfish to journey the extra mile,

You might not be a leader.

When seen as a puppet of management,

To throw teammates under the bus is meant,

As a symbol of brewing discontent,

You might not be a leader.

If you lack trust and thought to be lying

And giving feedback is terrifying,

Here is a fact that’s not worth denying,

You might not be a leader.

You feel emotional intelligence

Are soft skills without any relevance,

And being vulnerable makes no sense,

You might not be a leader.

If given a job that’s over your head;

If you cannot reach them, the word will spread,

If you cannot teach them, it will be said,

You might not be a leader.

Copyright © 2019 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. Do you solicit input from others?

  2. Do you use ideas presented by your staff?

  3. Do you speak down to others when they state their opinions?

  4. Do you involve others in your decision making?

  5. Review stanzas and lines that relate to arrogance in self and others.

  6. Do people come to you for advice on a frequent basis?

  7. How do you receive feedback on your impact?

  8. Does your impact match your intent?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser    

 

 

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 24 – Curiosity

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As children we were told that curiosity killed the cat, but our response was always, but satisfaction brought them back. On one hand we accused curious people of being nosy. However, curiosity was a good thing when you were called precocious. Curiosity is a critical characteristic to possess. Cultivating the habit of being curious is a precursor to creativity and innovation. Employees who constantly approach products and practices with a curiosity lens, are an asset to you, for they will develop ideas to improve your organization.

A corporate culture saturated with curiosity is vibrant and expanding. These individuals examine the status quo to understand its origins, as they look for ways to improve design and execution to increase overall quality. One of the tools of the curious is an enhanced ability to ask questions. They know that the right question will provide them with the information they need to understand and improve overall performance. Why have we always done process, this way? Many professions depend on the ability to ask questions; lawyers, salespeople, counselors, coaches, teachers, parents, years, psychiatrists and lawyers.

Curiosity paired with questioning skills will uncover information needed in an environment of continuous improvement. Think of ways that you could be more curious and set up a process to establish a curiosity infused workplace. Have fun with it because it will be exhilarating.

 

A.S.K.

(Acquire Selling Knowledge)

 

We ask for trouble;

To be there on the double;

For affection, for directions,

For a dime.

We ask for the weather;

The shoes are they leather?

Was I blatant?

What’s your statement?

What’s the time?

Yet this three-letter word

Is forgotten, deferred,

By the greatest inquisitors of all.

We speak from our chair

With articulate flair,

But with rarely a question in the call.

In eloquent fashion

We probe with a passion,

For a date,

For a dollar,

For our due.

We ask for a dance,

A third second chance,

For advice,

For a price,

For a clue.

But we won’t inquire

To learn what inspires,

A customer to buy;

Their need, reason,

The why.

They are willing to share,

Who, what, when, how and where,

If we ask and listen to their reply.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Teach the Children to Dance

Personal Reflections

  1. Are you creative?

  2. How do you cultivate a climate of curiosity?

  3. Since curiosity and creativity are often linked, what are you doing to grow either skill, personally or professionally?

  4. Are there certain people in your organization who are naturally curious?

  5. Have you developed the art of asking questions to seek information?

  6. Can you identify with the sentiment stated in the Ask poem above?

  7. What can you do to ensure that more questions are asked in presentations and conversations?

  8. Have you informed your people about the importance of asking the right questions?

  9. What kind of training or resources do you provide in the area of curiosity and asking questions?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser    

 

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 23 – Spiritual Leadership

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New leaders, in my day, were given 3 pieces of advice. These words were to guide us throughout our business careers. These words could also be a gauntlet for any leader. They have been known to demolish the morale in an organization and destroy someone’s reputation and career. We were told to never get involved in conversations regarding sex, politics and religion.

A new leader had many areas to grow and we did not need to be distracted by these very volatile topics. We can debate the relevance of this advice today, but I would like address one of the topics in a positive way.  We frequently hear about the desire for employees want to bring their entire selves to work.  We cannot deny that spirituality is important for many people.

Spirituality is a key part of our makeup that defines who we are. Organizations may not discuss religion in the workplace, however many of them will provide space for people to reflect, study and pray at work. Organizations should be sensitive and aware enough to encourage religious expression, outside of proselytizing (recruiting) and making others uncomfortable.

Spiritual Leadership in our 31 Day leadership gauntlet refers to the way our spirituality influences our decisions and our interaction with others. It also covers how we express personal values that align with corporate values. Creating a climate where morality, respect, responsibility, integrity, caring and forgiveness are practiced, is essential for a respectful workplace.

 

The Lord is My Leader

The Lord is my Leader I shall not lack

Direction for He is standing at my back;

While in front of me He makes decisions

To meet my needs with ample provisions.

I shall not want for his abundance fills

My cup with affluence and as it spills,

As water flowing from a mountain top,

His goodness and mercy will never stop.

He mends my brokenness

And I find rest,

As He restores my soul,

He refreshes my spirit,

Changes my countenance

And makes me whole.

  

He leads me where the waters are still;

He tutors me as I study His will;

He comforts me in righteousness;

Though I walk through the valley

Of difficult times;

Disease, disasters and immoral crimes

I fear no evil for He

Protects me from my enemies

And loves me though there is sin in me,

And promises me an eternity

Of matchless splendor and serenity.

(Adapted from Psalms 23)

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

Practical Reflections

  1. How can we address spirituality in a way that allows people to be comfortable at work while practicing their faith?

  2. Can people gauge from your behavior, the spiritual foundation that influences your leadership style?

  3. Can people of different faiths practice prayer and Bible study in your workplace?

  4. What role does God play in your decision-making process?

  5. Which spiritual values do you illustrate at work?

  6. Do you believe in the second stanza to be true? How powerful is your faith?

  7. God is making you whole as you read this. Discuss the importance of these words. The Lord is your leader.

  8. How are you resting on His promises and finding comfort in His words?

  9. God as a leader has a vision for your life. Discuss your thoughts about his vision for you.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser    

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 22 – Relapse

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Developing new skills requires a change management mentality. New skills must be practiced and reinforced over time, with continuous application. The more powerful and experiential the training with total immersion in the new skills, will result in new behaviors that are sustainable.

However, you must deal with inertia, which is resistance to change. Secondly you must contend with the temptation to resort to previous behaviors in the face of difficulty. Observation and experience reveal that in a crisis, if the new skills are not firmly embedded in the subconscious, we revert to previous behavior. We retreat to what is known, comfortable and firmly established. We may discard the new information, new practices for the comfortable behaviors of the past.

If change is not fully incorporated into your rote memory or natural rhythms, you may easily relapse. Therefore, it is important to have powerful implementation procedures that are rapidly reinforced repetition to replace the memorized subconscious behaviors.

Additionally, you must firmly believe in your people and adhere to your leadership pledge to their success. In the heat of battle, turmoil or a crisis, remember that your long-term effectiveness as a leader may hinge upon the following. Your ability to be steady, call while refusing to relapse and abandoning new programs and practices for the old way of doing things.

 

Leadership Pledge

To value and respect you

For your accomplishments each year;

Reward your focus on the bottom line,

Elicit feedback and design

Improvements to work conditions

And ways to fight the competition.

To give clear goals, not good intentions;

Form tactics that defy convention

And set a course for the clients needs,

Sometimes at warp or breakneck speeds;

But always mindful as we advance

To keep egos intact and skills enhanced.

To value and respect you

For loyalty and candor,

For personal leadership modeled

When understaffed and at full throttle,

To praise you when change is prominent,

Receptive when stress is dominant;

And listen actively to your voice,

For you have freedoms,

You’re here by choice.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership Above the Rim

Personal Reflections

  1. How do you demonstrate to others that you believe and trust them?

  2. What new programs have you put in place to improve the climate in your workplace?

  3. Think of behavior changes successfully implemented and what you did to make them work.

  4. Give examples of old habits that you have successfully replaced.

  5. What do you do to prevent yourself from relapsing into old habits? Give an example, personal or professional.

  6. Review information on change management to strengthen the intellectual and logical justification for your new practices.

  7. The element of surprise is a strong reason for reflex behavior. When you are caught off guard you may tend to relapse into old ways of thinking.

  8. Anticipation will help you stay with your new skills and let the old habits stay in the past.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser    

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 21 – Acting Authentically

Acting Classes

We appreciate those who perform for us, especially actors and actresses. In a world where authenticity and transparency are encouraged, we honor those, who make a living, assuming another identity and playing different roles. William Shakespeare wrote, in the play As you like it,

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,”

There are instances, where we assume certain traits and behaviors that initially feel awkward. They are not a natural part of who we are. We may be in the early stages of development. Therefore, we must fake it until we make it or act as if we have the skills, until they become a part of us.

When someone consistently plays a role, we can anticipate their actions and this predictability draws us into their character. This reminds me of us. We are vulnerable and share our personalities, so others can anticipate our actions. This predictability builds comfort, awareness and trust.

I was a part of a drama team at church, where we were trained by degreed professionals and practitioners, in the art of the theater. My manager questioned my hobby. I remember thinking, “you are asking me to act day at work, and least I can get some training to do it better.”

We are asked to act and play a role or different roles every day. We should at least play them with authenticity and transparency, until they are natural, realistic and believable.

In our role as leaders, there instances where we must act as a leader, until we put on the full mantle of the mindset and the role.

Act as A Leader

You Tube Narration: https://youtu.be/eLzlbmTPhCA

 

Act as a leader,

Roll up your sleeves and get involved;

Create the vision and the culture

Where people are consulted,

Before issues are resolved.

Act as a leader,

Form strategies on how to compete,

Discuss when to advance and retreat,

Review the options selected,

And plan for the unexpected.

Act as a leader,

Be prudent in talent selection,

Precise giving directions

And when they share your vision,

Their passion will seek perfection

And their results will pass inspection.

Act as a leader,

Develop and nourish your group,

For everyone’s expedient,

Each roles a key ingredient,

To add their texture to the soup.

Act as a leader,

Reward and recognize your team,

Spotlight talent, feed their esteem,

Through public and private ovations,

Show that you value their motivation.

Act as a leader,

As a mandate, model fairness,

Distribute justice when you speak,

Grow your skills and self-awareness

By being open to critique.

Act as a leader,

And the growth will be exponential.

Act as a leader,

And they will reach their potential.

As a leader;

Take individual seeds

And cultivate a team

That challenges you to lead.

Copyright © 2000 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. Through the practice of mental rehearsal, visualize an upcoming important conversation. Anticipate the worst possible outcome and how you will handle it.

  2. Repeat step one several time to become comfortable with a range of response.

  3. Role-play your goals with someone and give them permission to ask questions.

  4. Conduct a mock interview and take turns being the applicant and the interviewer.

  5. Read Michael Shurtleff’s book Audition to learn how actors prepare.

  6. Read information on storytelling, public speaking and acting principles to improve your speaking and conversational skills.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.   

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser