Friday, March 26, 2010

We Cherish Kindness But We Stuggle To Practice It

Here is one of my favourite quotes:

“That best portion of a good man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love”

...William Wordsworth

This quote was written in 1798 by Wordsworth as part of his work, “Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey.” The significance of it to me is its timing and the sheer simplicity of the message. Even 212 years ago, poets and philosophers like Wordsworth were challenging human beings to be kind at all times because, as he pointed out even then, simple acts of kindness and love are the best portion of any man. Just as nothing has stayed the same, nothing has changed since those days.

As you make your way through your life, do you consciously and deliberately consider whether or not you are being consistently kind? Or instead, do you justify rudeness, revenge, guile, or cruelty as being somehow righteous or fair? As your day unfolds, do you look for ways to do kind things for others that will not garner you any notoriety or fame? Or instead, do you simply do apparently good things that will attract attention and advance your position if noticed by the right person? A charitable or kind act is not something that is done to gain favour or attract pats on the back. It is something that is done out of pure goodness and the spirit of caring and giving. As Wordsworth suggests, even if it is nameless and unremembered, a kind act has value and will bring benefit to you and to those you help. Some of the greatest heroes and philanthropists of all time are unknown and have never been applauded. True kindness does not come with conditions or an expectation of reward.

The second lesson in Wordsworth’s quote is that acts of kindness and love are the “best portion of a good man’s life.” If you are rich, famous, talented, or successful in business, you have not attained true goodness. You have simply moved yourself ahead of others in one area or another. You have not necessarily brought any value to the world until you have helped others in the true spirit of selfless charity or kindness. Obligatory or market-driven charitable donations and occasional appearances at charitable events do not make one kind or loving. Fortunately for charities, our business world and the tax system have made charity a good financial investment. However, very good people will move beyond business-based-charity. Good people are kind to everyone at all times without motive.

As you drive down the highway in your new car or slip into bed in your sumptuous home, ask yourself, “Have I done any good for the world today? Have I helped anybody just for the sheer pleasure of being kind and selfless? When you can answer “yes!” to those two questions, your life will have true value and you will be the good man or woman that Wordsworth spoke of.

Kindness is easy! Try it...I guarantee you will like it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Are you a team player

Are you a team player?

"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision…the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results"

Andrew Carnegie

The quote above, applies to every member of every team. Everyone on your team must listen to everyone else with an open mind and a positive attitude if the team is to be successful. There is no room on great teams for people who will not listen to alternative points of view. Team members must support the members of their team through thick and thin despite pressure from within or without. Although we might assume that this is only important for leaders we must understand that in our own ways, we are all leaders and we must all play for the team we are on.

If at any time during your working day, you believe that you have arrived at a place where your success is untouchable and your career cannot be diminished, you have probably stopped being a team player. If you believe that you are beyond reproach because your status has placed you above the other members of the team, you have left the team, (or never joined it). If you believe that someone else is responsible for team morale and that person, or those people owe you happiness, you do not understand teamwork. Morale, good or bad, is driven by every member of the team. Team members must all share in the responsibility for team unity if the team is going to win.

Teamwork is about oneness. The spirit of a team is in the hearts of its members. In the bodies of great teams there are several hearts beating as one. The minds of great team members never think about their own success…every goal and every win belongs to every member of the team. Great teams celebrate together and the stars of the team only shine when the entire team has been put on a common pedestal for the world to see.

Show some appreciation for your team today, for without them you are alone.

Wayne Kehl

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is your boss doing a good job?

Does it ever seem like your boss isn’t doing his job? Do you feel that your immediate supervisor is shirking her responsibilities? Do you ever think that without you, nothing would get done at work? If you are a manager or supervisor, do you ever wonder what your employees think of you? Do you care? You should!

If you don’t know what your boss does, or you don’t know what your employees think of you, the environment in your workplace lacks leadership and communication. But, you already knew that! The question is: “What can you do about it?”

Firstly, in all companies, large and small, employees often have very little knowledge of what their immediate superiors are supposed to do in the course of the day. They have no idea if their boss is working and contributing to the company or not. In the worst of companies, the problem is so pronounced that employees can routinely be overheard saying things like, “He does absolutely nothing all day; She just talks on the phone all day; He has no interest in anything that goes on here; She doesn’t care about us; Our manager only thinks about himself.” When communication is at its worst, these things will be said whether the boss is working or not. The people that work in that kind of environment will never achieve the level of performance that they could if they had open, honest communication with their managers and receptive, selfless leadership from those in charge. So, how can YOU improve an organization with poor leadership?

To the managers and supervisors of the world: You should strive to be a leader first and a manager second! Your job is to lead your employees to better performance so that your company or organization can be the best in its field. If you have done the easiest part of your job, your employees already know the fundamentals and complexities of their jobs...they do not need instruction or criticism from you...they need your encouragement and support. Most importantly they need to know how you feel about the job they are doing and they want to know more about what YOU are doing to help the company succeed. Tell them what your job is all about; tell them about your fears and trepidations; tell them about some of the problems you encounter in your job. Bottom line...Talk to them! Stop telling your people how busy you are and how other things are more important than their problems. Instead, tell them how valuable they are and how impressed you are with the job they do. Honest, positive communication is the key to any good relationship and a working relationship is no different. Be vulnerable, be open, communicate, communicate, communicate! Only then will you be viewed as a leader.

To the employees of the world: If your boss is not working with you or is actually preventing you from being successful or simply getting your job done, you need to summon up all of your courage and communicate directly with her. Ask politely what you should reasonably expect of her. Ask if you can share some of your perceptions of her leadership style. Tell her how her actions impact upon you. Open, honest communication is the only way to break down a wall of negative energy. Be sincere, be vulnerable, and be polite. Your kindness and willingness to share your feelings will be recognized by your boss and with good fortune, they will be returned in kind. Oh, and don’t be afraid to offer to help your boss with his job. Instead of complaining about his indifference or lack of availability, offer your services to help him get through a big project or a mountain of paperwork. He will appreciate your generosity and selflessness.

Nobody, not even the most aloof or indifferent boss, gets up in the morning wanting to do a poor job or to be disrespected. If a manager is not aware of his or her failings, he or she will continue to fail. It is the responsibility of all workers at all levels in every organization to work as a team to create a great result. Open, honest communication by everyone on the team is the key that will unlock the door to success.

Wayne Kehl


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Did you ever wonder where the expression, “ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END” came from? I did, and I decided to check it out. It turns out that the saying is approximately 635 years old. Here is the original version:

“There is an end to everything, to good things as well.”

This proverb dates back to about 1374… Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer, the author of the famed ‘Canterbury tales’, drew upon his relationships with real people to create his many literary characters. They say that art imitates life and life imitates art… no one knew that better than Chaucer. The innkeepers, lawyers, students, pilgrims and other players in his stories were based on people known to him. The professions of soldier, messenger, bureaucrat, foreman, and administrator that he speaks of in his tales were all jobs that he actually held himself during his life.

Because of the myriad of people that Chaucer met in his life and the number of jobs he held in medieval society, he was able to witness unavoidable changes in the lives of many. His numerous and ever-varying experiences allowed him to accept the fact that nothing in life is permanent; nothing stays the same for ever; and nothing really matters in life except life itself…for your life is the only thing you truly possess. We can learn a lot from the sages of history because over the past 600 or so years we have really only evolved in the areas of industrialization, automation, and material possessions. Our bodies, hearts, and minds perform essentially the same as those of Geoffrey Chaucer and his contemporaries.

I wanted to leave you with the thought that no matter what relationships, loves, joys, possessions, or pastimes we might enjoy today, our lives might be completely changed tomorrow. No matter what expectations or needs we have of those we rely upon right now, those people might be only a vacant spot in our memories the next time we awake. Please enjoy the current moment; enjoy the people around you today; enjoy your life as it is in the present, because the past can never return and the future is only a part of your imagination. The past can help shape your present and future but your only reality is before you at this moment.

Life is what you make it, my Friends, and life is for living!

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

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