Best and Worst Movies of 2008

The judgment is based on overall buzz/expectation to actual reality of the film. Here's my list of 2008 in order of release dates. (NOTE: there are plenty of movies I didn't see this year).

In Bruges
Bank Job
Iron Man
Kung Fu Panda
Dark Knight
Step Brothers
Pineapple Express
Burn After Reading
Body of Lies

Be Kind, Rewind
The Grand
Get Smart
Space Chimps
Day the Earth Stood Still

What is your list?


Madness is not rational

"The economic situation makes no sense, because madness is not rational. Obsession cannot be overcome by reason or by moral values. Wall street and the country in general is just as addicted as any heroin addict. Feeling good at any price. The solution is never found by carping on the sins....but only in practicing the virtues."

(James Sandel, Boston, MA responding to a NY Times Op-Ed entitled "The Madoff Economy")

Review of "The E-Myth Manager"

What a book! We just finished reading Michael Gerber's "E-Myth Manager" as a staff, and I found it simply remarkable. If you haven't heard of the E-Myth, it is this: the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs AND the fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work.

But the beauty of the work lies within its wisdom for organizations regardless of their size, mission, staff, and much more...these principles are foundational to transforming organizations. I was very skeptical of the "systems approach" to organizations especially churches but now see if is the most efficient and effective way to deliver on the promise we have been called to.

I took exhaustive notes, not because I'm so smart or geeky but because this book will be pulled off the shelf many times over the next few years. Below are 10 key concepts I found plus CLICK HERE to download all the notes for yourself if you want the "Cliff Notes" of the book.

  1. "Management, as we have come to know it, is the product of many years of insanity based on the idea that to manage means to control everything around us. Something humans were never born to do."
  2. "Most organizations are filled with empty missions today."
  3. "You must create a system to that the Vision will be optimally realized. Systems and Strategies are critical"
  4. "Actively live life, rather than let life live you. STOP living on autopilot."
  5. "Once the FLAVOR of the organization is communicated clearly as well as the standards and character...tactical components reveal themselves."
  6. "Make sure everyone in the organization understands how money works and how it doesn't."
  7. "You do not organize PEOPLE...you organize WORK."
  8. "Know the ONE thing it is you're committed to providing the people you serve and focus your energy entirely on the perfection of the ability to fulfill that commitment. PROMISE (what are we here to accomplish?) and PROCESS (what is the best way to fulfill it?)"
  9. "A systems dependent organization is significantly more humane than a people-dependent one. In a people-dependent organization, when Fred stops producing, Fred's history. In a systems-dependent organization, Fred's not the problem, the system is."
  10. "The people you look to hire should be people who recognize their weaknesses -- perhaps more than their strengths -- and truly express the desire to rise above them. People who are self-aware are generally also willing to assume full responsibility for the role they play within the organization.


How do you "pay" volunteers?

I work in a very volunteer intensive environment, and we always are looking for ways to show appreciation ("pay") our volunteers. Everyone has a currency they prefer, which motivates your volunteers the most? What's their currency? The first job of a leader is to define reality, and the last job of a leader is to say “Thank You.” How do volunteers experience “thank you” with the most impact?

1. Money
(small increments, gift cards, tokens of appreciation)
2. Private Praise
(specific, pull-you-aside-and-complement, letting them know their service was noticed)
3. Public Praise
(in front of the group, calling them out as the difference maker)

4. Access to their Up-line coordinator/staff
(above and beyond everyone else, they have the up-line’s ear)
5. Input
(their input heard – but they don’t necessarily need their idea to be executed)

6. Knowledge
(they like to be kept in the loop on the inner dialogue)
7. Significance
(they like to be told how your efforts make a difference…the “why” is the motivator for them)

8. Excellence
(they have to be part of something special, an organization that is better than the rest)
9. Flexibility of Schedule
(like to know they are so valuable we are willing to accommodate their schedule)
10. Time Off
(their personal cycle is such that they work hard then hiatus after completion of a goal).
11. Give more work to me
(They are driven by feeling needed).


CNN "Heroes" was truly great TV

How many times have you watched the news and thought, "Why is it that all we hear about is death, dying, doom and gloom? Isn't there something out there bringing hope and meaning to people's lives that could be reported on from time to time?" It was these questions that awoke what I believe to be my calling to enter into the media and creative fields...to possibly be a catalyst for change. And it was this presentation by CNN on Thanksgiving that brought a broad smile to my face called "Heroes :: Ordinary people, Extraordinary impact."

I only had a chance to watch about 30 minutes of this profoundly inspiring "Oscars of Charity and Kindness". Wow...amazing stories from ordinary people doing something to make a difference in people's lives all around this world. I teared up several times and kept smiling ear to ear...media at its best. John Legend's "If Your Out There" was the icing on the cake to close the celebration.

Yes...I love the actual Oscar's but in the end aren't they simply Hollywood patting itself on its back? This presentation provided more fuel to an already burning fire in many people's hearts to look beyond themselves. And as a follower of Jesus it helped me regain so often what I lose in the blur of life...the hope and sustainable change offering love to others brings.

I'm sure re-runs will be airing for the next week or two so make sure you DVR it and enjoy.