Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

Articles

Success in localization

In advertising,Bible,Books,business,Community,computers,culture,facebook,faith,leadership,Localization,Uncategorized on September 15, 2016 by mstevensrev

Workshop_of_Pieter_Coecke_van_Aelst,_the_elder_-_Saint_Jerome_in_His_Study_-_Walters_37256.jpg

There are a number of models of success in the localization industry.

Each day billions of people use products they would otherwise not have access to because of the translator or editor and supporting services.

Global companies continue to drive higher revenues worldwide, often outside the country that the company was originally founded in.

An author gets his book out to an audience that doesn’t speak his native language.

Communities are being connected and the localization industry has a continued opportunity to onboard new groups of people to this exciting connected world we live in. Through this work we share in the beauty of the worlds growing diversity, and language is at the core of it.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. -Nelson Mandela

Articles

Favorite sales stories, and a new podcast

In advertising,banking,Books,business,commercials,computers,culture,design,generosity,humor,leadership,Localization,mission on September 14, 2016 by mstevensrev

sales-army.jpgToday we put our the latest episode of our podcast, Episode 010: What about Sales, from Globally Speaking. www.globallyspeakingradio.com or you can listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play (USA or Canada), Stitcher, or via RSS. This inspired me to share a story that tells you how hard it is to do sales, which is something I am passionate about.

A few years ago before the localization industries primary trade show, LocWorld, I sent a note to a friend that I saw was going to be in attendance, offering to show him around town since the show was in Seattle. It had been a few years since I had connected with this friend and former client, so I thought it would be great to catch up. Surprisingly, to me, there was no response.

On the second night of the show we are at a bar and I see this friend I reached out to at the same bar with his colleagues enjoying a drink. The bar was closing, and I went up to see how he was doing. After some small talk he said, “You’re from here, where can we get another drink?” I had my car and offered to take them to another bar I knew would be open and fun. So we went out to my car, the four of us squeezing into a small two door car, once everyone was in I locked the door and asked, “No one is getting out of the car until I found out why you didn’t respond to my email.” There was laughter, but I did not move or start the car as everyone looked around.

Finally my friend went to explain that he had received no less then 400 emails or LinkedIn InMail before the conference. Some were offering him “10% less then his current prices, guaranteed.” He then apologized, under the threat of never getting out of my car, and went on to explain how it was impossible to separate the signal from the noise in such circumstances…so he just shut off.

Not only was it fun to reconnect with an old friend, but he insight was shocking to me. How do you distinguish yourself when people have shut off because there is too much noise? How do you respect a person’s desire to not be bother but also let them know that you are thinking about them? This is the work and the art of sales, each person and company are unique but the principles you have in place to tackle this obstacle are key in your success.

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect.

-W. Clement Stone

Articles

The silver bullet

In art,Books,business,Community,culture,design,faith,leadership,mission,Money,principles,quote,Spiritual,Theology on September 12, 2016 by mstevensrev

23463195732_0b5aa8e114_bThe existence of this tool is far overrated. Often in strategy meetings adding that one tool is the over simplified solution for an extremely complex problem, and it is no surprise that it often does not work.

Few things work as well as compound interest. This goes for money and showing up every day to the work before you. Constantly doing your job, regularly and steadily improving small bits that can improve the whole.

For those not paying attention success does look like a silver bullet was discovered, an overnight sensation discovered, and all the lonely days practicing in the garage or at empty shows are forgotten because of the success. For those who accomplish it, they remember all the work and failure that provided the foundation for the win. Once it is achieved it means you have to go out there and do it all over again.

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

-Vince Lombardi

Articles

Hearing what we don’t like

In culture,leadership,News on August 30, 2016 by mstevensrev

la-1472423801-snap-photo

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick addresses the media after a preseason game against the Packers. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

No one enjoys hearing things they don’t like.

Sit or stand, pray for suffering or not…in a free country many think differently then you. Social commentary keeps it in your face longer then you are comfortable. Then there are those who react because it is not what they like. And under all of this a message is being sent.

Are you listening? am I? Only recently have I been made aware that it is possible to disagree and not demonize the other person. In short disagreement does not demand that the other burn in hell. Music is notorious for offending older generations and then being played on the oldies station a few decades later. Take the time to breath and listen. Perhaps we will have the strength to engage in an actual conversation with that which we don’t like to hear.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.

Bryant H. McGill

Articles

Finding my own and inspiring others voice

In art,blogging,Community,culture,leadership,Uncategorized,work,writing on August 18, 2016 by mstevensrev

8d16dba7427130af7dc14f8d6c584657

Over half way through this year I would say that has been the biggest change in my life, finding my own voice. A big part of it has been the Globally Speaking Podcast. Blogging and stand up comedy have also been a part of the process as well. Pretty fun and I’m excited to see where it leads.

The second half of the title (inspiring others voice)I’m not so sure about, but I’ll take some credit for it. Two co-workers have published on LinkedIn, if you have a chance check them out:

When (not) to be helpful, Tucker Johnson

Career 3.0 – The climbing cage, Juliette Tanarro

Check them out!

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Articles

Just because it worked once

In art,Books,business,design,faith,leadership,principles,Uncategorized on August 1, 2016 by mstevensrev

rubon32

Just because it worked once doesn’t mean that the same actions will have the intended effects now.

The expression is that you cannot step into the same river twice, and that is true. Both you change and so does the river.

In reading “What happened to WikiLeaks?“, I was struck with how something so important could with similar actions to the past act so poorly in the moment. “The WikiLeaks project has fallen far from the lofty heights of its founding a decade ago, when Julian Assange promised to “facilitate safety in the ethical leaking movement.””

We all have success, just don’t think you can do the same thing this time.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. -Herman Melville

Articles

Race Lesson 3: Double down on strengths

In exercise,Fun,leadership,Sports,swimming,Uncategorized on July 28, 2016 by mstevensrev

Carkeek_Park_shore_looking_north_02.jpg

Running is the place where I excel, and over the years it is also the physical activity that I have found the most enjoyment in. The SeaFair Olympic Triathlon only confirmed that running is the most fun I have all day, when compared to swimming and biking. In addition to finding someone to help me with my incremental improvement in swimming, I also am convinced that nothing will get me to my goal faster then more running. So I immediately signed myself up for the Carkeek 12-Hour race which I ran a few years ago and wrote about here. There are a few other races I’ll compete in, but for the 12-hour I’d like to complete 40 miles this year.

There isn’t anyone in the world that has been created the same as you, many people spend their life looking at what they don’t have and how to improve their weaknesses. The opposite approach is more fun, go out and enjoy your strengths!  There is a really fun book that highlights this that I read years ago, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China. I believe focusing in the one area where you can shine makes you better and has a larger impact in the world. Well roundedness is a myth and can often weaken your position in life when it comes to using your gifts. 

Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge.

-Matthew Arnold

Articles

Race Lesson 2: Get expert help on your weakness

In exercise,leadership,quote,running,swimming,Uncategorized on July 27, 2016 by mstevensrev

035sports-coachIn Race Lesson 1: Go beyond your desire to quit, I mentioned the challenge that the swim leg of the SeaFair Olympic Triathlon caused me. It was great to get through that experience but it immediately led me to action for improvement. The number of years that I have dedicated to running and the expertise that I have gained in that area cannot be duplicated with swimming. Therefore my goal is not to make swimming my strength in triathlons.

To date the gains I have made in swimming have been through self study and practice, there are a few fundamentals that I understand about good form. Now that I have more experience it is time to find an expert to help me incrementally improve that area of my race. As I mentioned my overall race time was respectable, middle of the pack for my age group and the swim was exactly what I expected it to be. Therefore if I can make moderate improvements in swimming I will advance up the ladder in my age group rapidly. My self education in this area has gotten me as far as I can go, therefore it is time to seek an expert. Since my greater goal is to move beyond the middle of the pack for Olympic Triathlons and complete an Iron Man.

Over the years I’ve come to the reality that I cannot be an expert at everything, it is not realistic and therefore there will always be weakness in my life. Working in teams and the management has taught me to seek those who challenge me in my weaknesses, these are people that are key to success. For example, one area you may notice is in my blog, I need an editor:) This is key when I’m developing captivating materials in my work for clients, if quality assurance is my sole responsibly we have not developed the strongest possible team.

Having people around me that are experts where I am weak is not easy on my ego, therefore I’m learning how to continue to listen and take in their perspective. Often these experts are not even directing their talking at me but rather what we are working on. When they are talking to me, they are inviting me to expand my mind and see how the world can be better because of what they uniquely bring to the table. This place of humility and openness is often more easily said then done, but even as I write about it I get excited.

In my next lesson I’d like to explore doubling down on your strengths, so pay attention for Race Lesson #3

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig. (150)”
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

 

 

Articles

The Lessons, big things and little things, Part III

In Bible,church,Community,faith,family,Friends,Grace Seattle,Japan,leadership,mission,PCA,Prayer,Presbyterian Church in America,principles,prophet,Spiritual,Theology,Uncategorized on April 12, 2014 by mstevensrev


sacred-heart-of-jesus with a pair of flame within it
At this post I want to make shift from the previous two I shared regarding the last few years of my spiritual journey.  In the previous posts the mid-faith crisis I experienced was manageable because of a few light posts that were available to me over the four year period.  These were far from mountain top experiences with God but rather as 2 Corinthians 12:9 encourages us, ““My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” From these few cold glasses of water I was kept from throwing myself off a bridge literally, and I with this post I want to transition into sharing a few things that I have learning in the experience.

The Walk and the The Wall were completely necessary for me as they each provided insight into the God I have known since a young child, the God who I had studied about in Seminary, and yet the God who I had shaped so clearly in my image I hardly knew anything about at all.  I love the Annie Lamott quote, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” This quote is also a very good starting point for my first lesson, Big Things and Little Things.  As we all know most profound lessons that we incorporate into our lives actually come from kindergarten. This one is no exception but it came from my daughter’s kindergarten.

My second daughter began kindergarten this year, and having been the first of our kids that went through Montessori preschool we were unsure how she would adjust to Seattle public school. Thankfully our concerns were without merit and she is thriving, most of the credit goes to her teacher, Ms. Pattsy Burgess of Broadview Thompson.  One of the major lessons that Pattsy has taught my daughter, me and our entire family.  The simple lesson is “Big Things and Little Things”.

go dog go 2

The assessment is fair that our family is a sensitive family that often has emotional responses to the situations life throws at us, this can often lead to a blowing out of perspective small situations because of our emotions.  Early in this academic year my daughter explained to me that, “Daddy, your house burning down is a big deal. Losing your pencil is a small deal.”  Of course I had to ask more and she went on to explain that Ms. Burgess began to ask her when she was frustrated or emotional in a situation, “Is this a big thing or little thing?” Often the big thing would be your house burning down, so pretty much anything in comparison is a little thing.  A part of me was concerned that having a child consider her house burning down may have risk associated with it, but in my continued discussions with this wise six year old this never seemed a big deal, thankfully. So what was shared as a framework to help my daughter identify if her emotional response is in line with the situation has become a reminder for me as well.  This is not to eliminate emotional responses or even call them wrong, rather it is an opportunity to calibrate to keep them in line with what is actually going on rather then spiraling into a world that is out of touch with the actual situation.  Often it provides a good conversation with the younger two girls in our family when they are fighting, it just takes some of the spit and fire out of the situation.

Every human being on the planet has had their share of both Big Things and Little Things.  In my life the Big Things include suffering sexual abuse as a child, severe cycles of depression since middle school age, the deposition of pastor and dear friend during seminary at Grace Seattle (the church where my wife and I met), working over three years for a hypocritical conservative pastor who was unfaithful to his wife and family for more than fifteen years, and counseling a serial murderer as a first year pastor.  Each one of these Big Things in my life takes years of counseling and meditation to properly understand and remain human after suffering, part of my recent spiritual journey is recognizing that these are Big Things and to not live in denial of the impact that just one could have on a single human life much less a marriage or family.

Another point to share is the event that caused me to lose my ordination and ultimately leave the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) was actually a small thing.  In the past few years sharing it I almost felt embarrassed.  My family was almost broken apart and we left the church because  Grace Seattle, where I was serving as a ruling elder, did a terrible job of firing the worship pastor.  Churches and business hire and fire all the time, to someone outside that church or outside the church at large it would be confusing as to why it caused such an impact on me and my family.

The first point I had to reflect on was, did we overreact?  I have come to peace that we did not.  Admittedly I am an sensitive emotional person and as I stated before this can lead me to making Big Things out of Little Things.  This is the reason for a time I would be embarrassed talking about the situation with people, I was still exploring the option that I had overreacted.  Unfortunately, I did not overreact to a Little Thing rather this Little Thing exposed a Big Thing far worse then simply firing a worship pastor.

The worship pastor and his family had been serving Grace Seattle for thirteen years when the firing went down.  They had served the church during the first major crisis where the pastor was deposed, and the original music created by this pastor was the only stability during the crisis.  The Big Thing that happened in the firing was he was no longer a member of the church or even a human deserving to be treated with dignity, rather this pastor  was a limiting factor on the future growth of the church and threat to the senior pastor and needed to be dismissed regardless of the impact on his family or his spiritual health.  This act was cruel and abusive, and I write openly on this because I was on the side of the perpetrator as an elder before I left the church. This was a Little Thing for the church that resulted in a Big Thing for a family, and as a leader who failed I need to publicly repent of these decisions I supported.

In reflecting on this situation and my experience in the PCA as a whole I realized there is another Big Thing.  As a denomination, organization or business the PCA has a fundamentally broken model in that they fail to value people. In my experience in and outside the church this is not unique.  Very few embody the words of C.S. Lewis,

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.

During my brief experience as an Elder in the PCA, this failure has lead to regular acts of corporate abuse and deceptive harmful group think. Under the guise of being “balanced on Scripture” or “true to Scripture” the PCA abuses people if they are out of line with conservative reformed theology. It is assumed by the PCA that you are not even elect if you think differently then their narrow misogynistic modern view. Orthodoxy is dogmatic and completely violates the Biblical requirements for being part of the community of God as described in both the Early and Late Testaments.  For those ready to battle me on this point, feel free but at least take a moment to read Scott McKnight’s recent post (by guest blogger Michael Pahl) that relates to what it means to seek “Biblical Christianity”. Scott’s guest blogger Michael Pahl writes in regarding the current WorldVision Situation but the depth of the divide described in the article I believe applies to my point, here.

At this moment I think it is important for me to share a part of my first post in this series, “I am on a new path where my thoughts will be appropriate to share with the world.  There are some who know me that may read this post with concern or possible feel threatened that I am making a case against beliefs they hold close, if that is the case for you do not feel obligated to continue reading.  Your friendship from afar is appreciated, yet I am not interested in arguing or persuading anyone of making this same journey if they are not open to it.  So in short if you found this via Facebook instead of leaving nasty comments feel free just to unfriend me now, no hard feelings and I wish you many blessings.”  So in short you can attempt to argue with me all you would like but I feel no obligation to fight anyone on any of the content of this post.  If your goal is to correct me or start a fight my advice would be to unfriend me now, rather if you are open to discussion I long for that.  Any defensiveness to protect a theological view is a Little Thing for me and I am focusing on Big Things. May God have the glory.

Also I think it is important to mention that I did ask the family of the worship pastor permission to use their situation as an example, they suffered through enough already related to Grace Seattle, and they said yes without names named.  In regards to the leadership of Grace Seattle or the PCA I did not ask their permission or allow them to review this post.  Since leaving Grace Seattle and nearly being excommunicated I have had no contact with the leadership of the church, I am essential dead to them.  The PCA on a denominational level perpetrated lies on why I left my ministry role in Oakland, CA at All Nations Church and have not contacted me since ripping my ordination during the last crisis at Grace Seattle. In the face of all the sin that both of these organization are perpetrating, I think their actions toward me are Little Things. My hope is through these prophetic words and the work of the Holy Ghost, repentance will come to all who have been involved in these horrible destructive actions and bring them closer to God. That would be a wonderful Big Thing.

Related to this kindergartener I am trying to raise with her two sisters in the church, it is really challenging yet our family has never left the church and God has not abandoned us.  As a parent I long to keep telling a story to my kids about a Big Thing, with all that has shifted and changed in my spirituality Jesus is the Big Thing.  Also I long to tell a spiritual journey story that allows them to see the beauty and pain of their spiritual legacy.  Only my oldest daughter was alive when I was a full time vocational pastor, the other girls have only known their daddy as a sales monkey, I long to tell all three a redemptive story that is a Big Thing.  But the legacy goes back further on both sides of their families, faithful Catholics and fundamentalist with cult like loyalty in their blood, a strange but sweet mix. All this is only a part of the wonderful lesson the God of the Universe has for this little tribe known as the Stevens, may the God of the universe give us the imagination for the big things that have been prepared in love for the world as well.

 

Articles

A follow up to a snarky post regarding Mark Driscoll

In Bible,church,Community,Evangelist,Friends,Grace Seattle,leadership,PCA,Prayer,Presbyterian Church in America,prophet,Spiritual,Theology on April 6, 2014 by mstevensrev

So in a previous silly post I made a statement about Mark Driscoll’s confusion.  To his credit there has been a statement of repentance from the man: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/mark-driscoll-posts-open-letter-apology

His letter has been covered in a number of blogs and such, I have not read much but must say that I am hopeful that these are first fruits of some very good movement for Mark, Mars Hill and Acts 29.  I long for a world where public repentance is not a major story by Christian leaders, but rather these ‘leaders’ live as publicly in their repentance as they do their celebritism.  Praise be to God.