bandaidI have recently noticed a behavior that is common to many teams and organizations. As problems become more urgent…as the pressure builds…we tend to go for the quick and easy fix. Along the way, we tell ourselves that we will come back and fix the “real issue” sometime in the future…but often fail to circle back after the pain subsides.

So, our forward progress is characterized by hundreds of small iterations which cause the “exceptions” to start piling up.  Over time, the system becomes littered with small tweaks that make real progress…well…complicated.

Perhaps a better approach is to stop and take a step back to look at the bigger picture…to rise up to the 30,000 foot view and see what lies ahead.  Yes, the pain continues to hurt, and further delay just makes it feel worse.  But, taking time to consider the best long term solution will almost always pay off.

Do you have a nagging, painful problem? Perhaps a band-aid is not the best solution.

Thanks for listening.


PS:  I apologize if you have gotten this before.  A WordPress update installed incorrectly and most people did not receive it.


Life Stories

I recently recorded this podcast with Travis Back, the host and author of “The Voice of the Vine“.  I met Travis at a Prayer Gathering at our church and he asked if he could interview me.  I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation!

The basis of his podcast is to interview “normal” people who are struggling to live out their faith.  I am sharing this hoping it might be helpful to your own life.  I am told that my journey from Atheist to Pastor can be quite entertaining.  It is certainly comical that God would chose to involve an introverted engineer in His grand scheme to show His love to the world…

Thanks for listening (or not)  🙂


Are You Scared to Make a Move?

When facing a decision that needs to be made, I tend to become anxious…especially when there are many unknowns on the other side of that decision.

I was recently convinced to move to a self-hosted blog (and leave the free and easy site I’ve been using).  I can hear my friend Alex shaking his head and asking “why?”…

It is my goal (actually feels like a “calling”) to expand my writing and the platform that I have.  So, I’m jumping over a cliff (encouraged by others) and trusting that I can’t screw up too badly. I may prove myself wrong (smile).  I confess to being very nervous that I’ll lose you in the process.

If you don’t hear from me for a few days, its because I’m setting up a new platform.  I plan to import all my posts and followers into the new site – so I hope to see you there!

I will continue to post at as soon as its up.

Thank you very much for your support and candid feedback!


Do You Know How to Troubleshoot?

I am amazed how often I hear people say “the server is down” and they seem to use it to describe any and every computer malfunction.  It has become synonymous with “I’m having trouble and its someone else’s fault.”

I can’t diagnose if the server is “up” or “down”…but there are some a very simple rules of thumb to troubleshoot any problem.

  1. Start at the observed problem and work backwards.  If the fan at the end of my extension cord doesn’t work, I don’t call the power company to see if their generators stopped working.  First, I start at the fan and check the switch.  Then I check the cord.  Then I check the outlet.  Then I check the breaker.
  2. Look at the most recent change.  If my spreadsheet worked fine yesterday, then the formula I edited today is the most likely source of my problem.  If the car worked fine when I parked it, perhaps I left it in gear or forgot to turn the lights off.
  3. Occams Razor – Look for the simplest explanation.  Today’s world is full of complicated systems, but the problem is usually caused by typing the wrong email address, hitting the wrong button, or forgetting to pay the electric bill.
  4. When stuck, walk away and take a deep breath.  I often find that taking a break (even for 5 minutes) is enough to stimulate fresh thought or help me see something new.

I hope this helps.  If you didn’t learn anything from this post….at least learn to stop saying “the server is down”…

Thanks for listening.



What to do When Anxiety Sets In?

Sometimes I am involved in a project and it seems to go sideways and anxiety starts to rise.  A deadline is missed… costs start to escalate… someone important is unhappy… or something major appears to be falling apart.  I start to ask myself:

  • What did I miss?  Is this a sign that I planned poorly?
  • Should I step in and try to correct the problem, or do I let this go?
  • Do I need to alert someone, or keep this quiet?

There are a few things I tend to use to assess if my anxiety is warranted.

  1. Look around.  Are others getting anxious too?  I have especially learned to seek out the experts I trust and take their temperature.
  2. Look up.  Are people in authority above me getting anxious?  Their experience may be needed to see the bigger picture.
  3. Look ahead.  Can I identify how this obstacle affects my end game?
  4. Look inside.  Remember my past experiences.  Do situations like this tend to turn out okay?  Can I trust that God has my back on this?

I hope these help.  What are your tips to address anxiety?

Thanks for listening.


Do You Enjoy Sarcasm?

Sometimes it seems like sarcasm has been elevated to a spiritual gift.  Some conversations are filled with spars and jabs that would impress a heavyweight fighter.

Sarcasm can actually be a form of showing affection.  When we’re young, the boys pick on the girls that we like.  When we’re older, we make fun of our friends to show how important they are to us.

Sarcasm can also be a form of intelligence.  It can be used to communicate truths that may otherwise be unpalatable or unacceptable.  A corrective rebuke from someone who cares about us can feel softer when said in jest.

I used to really enjoy sarcastic bantering.  It was fun to “spar” with others and see who “won”.  But, I have to confess that I’ve grown tired of sarcasm…because of the widespread inability to stop before boundaries get crossed.  Too many people have lost the ability to be respectful of other people.  More and more often, the “one-up-man-ship” games have turned into personal attacks on others.

So, I’ve quit….mostly…

How about you?  Do you cross boundaries in your sarcasm with others?

Thanks for listening.


Does Your Process Cause Panic?

I am struck by the wisdom of this post by Seth Godin.  He talks of the loss of efficiency of a system when “panic” is injected:

  • The movement of cars on a highway
  • The interaction with police at a traffic stop
  • The flow of people through TSA at the airport

The reason it caught my attention is because I am involved with a system with a lot of moving parts and literally hundreds of people involved.  12Stone has 9 campuses…and 5 of them are operated in a mobile environment (5 schools, 6 trucks,10 trailers, 10 storage containers, and 1 small room full of cabinets).  On any given week, we are prone to experience the panic of something (supplies or equipment) not being where we thought it should be.

This post gave me fresh thinking (and language) for the need for simplicity in our processes.  Yes, we can successfully scramble every week to find a lost part….but everyone suffers when we do.

Thanks for listening!