Life Isn’t Standing Still

Dear Patrick,

Life isn’t standing still.  The world around us continues to move and isn’t going to wait for when we are ready to move with it.  Change needs to happen because “the way we’ve always done it” begins not to work.  Leaders realize this and thus make tough decisions that impact many.  The hope is that these decisions are made with long term vision in mind and not short term gain.

The difficulty lies when you are on the receiving end of change and not in control of it.  Fear sets in because you have no idea how this change is going to impact you or even when.  When you begin to hear how “the change” is going to happen you think that you probably would have done it differently.  You are not in control and you begin to criticize.

Well…stop it.  You often talk about how change needs to happen in order for organizations or people to improve.  Remember that.  Also remember that you are not in control.  Your faith needs to guide you in all you do from this point forward.  There is this verse that just popped into your head:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Soak on that for a while.  Anytime you have the urge to say or do something, read that verse before doing anything.  It will likely save you from doing something stupid.  God knows what’s going on.  If you trust that, your paths will be straight and you will realize the long term vision is being fulfilled.  Are you good?  OK…just wanted to make sure.

If you’re still thinking about being in control, look outside.  It’s snowing.  You can control a shovel later.

Your friend,



You Can Quote Me…Catalyst 2010

As a follow up to my post earlier this week, I wanted to share with you some of the knowledge I received last week in Atlanta.  These are quotes from a few of the speakers that really got me thinking as I began to process this idea of managing tension for the advancement of an organization and God’s Kingdom.

What’s your sentence (purpose)?  Was I better today than yesterday? ~ Daniel Pink

Change is made by people who stop accepting deniability. ~ Seth Godin

You better eat the thing before you tweet the thing! ~ Beth Moore

If it’s explainable, God didn’t do it. ~ Perry Noble

Respect is earned.  Honor is given. ~ Craig Groeschel

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve been. ~ T.D. Jakes

Quotes can be difficult to understand by themselves.  They can often be taken out of context.  What I’ve tried to do is give you the best ones that resonated with me without the context of entire talk of each of the speakers.  My hope is that each one gives you something to think about as you lead your respective organizations.

If you’re up for it, let me know what you think in the comments below.  I’m sure it could make for some interesting discussion.

One last thing just for fun.  The video below was taken at Catalyst.  It’s not every day that you see someone get shot out of a cannon indoors!  The conference wasn’t just all speeches!  There was a ton of fun and laughs too!  Enjoy!

Growth without change? Not likely.

Photo credit:

It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 weeks since I made the decision to leave GM and come to MRM Worldwide.  Time flies when you’re having fun!  I can honestly say I’ve learned a ton in my time here so far and I know that more is yet to be learned.  I know I wouldn’t have come to this realization unless I made the move.  I think most would agree that a certain level of comfort sets in when you’ve been somewhere for a long time.  Being at GM for 13 years provided me with that sense of comfort, but was I growing professionally or personally?  No.  I knew how things ran inside the Renaissance Center.  I knew what my expectations were of the people I reported to.  I just didn’t feel a sense of excitement about the day that was ahead of me.  Kind of like that image of the hamster on the wheel.

Enter MRM Worldwide.  Much of the work I do now focuses on finding new and innovative ways to get consumers to interact with the GM brands (I still find this part of it amusing…GM is my client!).  Consumers don’t know what they don’t know!  That part of my job is really cool.  The other interesting part of my job centers on this new “agency” culture I spend my days in.  I need to learn how things run in this building.  There were a couple of other examples this week where I felt I needed to work on presenting to clients as well as my interactions with suppliers supporting our business needs.  These are things I never would have thought about before.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know!

We’ve all heard that life doesn’t stand still.  Well, neither should we.  It hit me last night before I went to bed…life without change does not encourage growth.

I’m not saying to look for change through a job.  I am merely suggesting to always look for ways to challenge yourself and try things you never thought you could do.  You’d be surprised at what you can accomplish and what you can learn.

A Final Look Back

I feel like it’s been forever since I last posted something.  I guess that’s because there has been a little bit of change going on from a career standpoint.  In the course of 2 weeks, I’ve gone from a 13 year career at General Motors to working on the agency side at MRM Worldwide.  I couldn’t be happier.  That’s not to say the decision to leave GM was an easy one.  Let’s face it, 13 years is a long time to spend with a company, especially in the context of today’s world.  There were A TON of things I would have never experienced if it were not for GM.  There were A TON of things I learned if it were not for GM.  For that, I’ll be forever grateful.

Let’s take a final look back…

Saturn (1996 – 1999)

My time at Saturn showed me what a car company and culture could be like.  This was all about teamwork and respect.  I was also first introduced to Stephen Covey and his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  This was 1996.  If you read them now, they are absolutely still relevant.

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First
  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood
  • Habit 6: Synergize
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

This formed the basis for how I’ve shaped my career and interactions with people.

General Motors – Buick – GMC (2000 – 2010)

A lot happened in this decade.  I learned how to analyze data and form insights.  I went to 3 NCAA Final Fours (Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Atlanta) and Michigan State played in 2 of them.  I learned that automotive retail never takes time off and works hard.  Attention to detail should not be taken lightly.  Get your facts straight because it can only help you in getting a decision made in your favor.  This is where I learned to love digital, technology and social media.  I learned to stay positive and encouraging during times never seen before (GM bankruptcy).  Most importantly, I learned patience and humility.

To my former colleagues and friends at General Motors that helped shape me, I want to say THANK YOU.  That was the hardest part of the decision process for me to leave after 13 years…the people.

So now it’s time to look ahead.  I’m looking forward to what this next chapter in my career provides me.  I know I’m going to learn a lot.  Technology and the web continuously changes our view of things that have been so traditional.  My eyes and mind have already been opened just 4 days into the job.  The one thing that hasn’t changed are the (new) people that will help me grow and develop professionally.

Yes it is cliche, but change is good.  At some point, we are all presented with an opportunity that you just can’t say “no” to and this was mine.  Now it’s time to focus on what’s ahead.

What about you?  What was that one memorable moment in your life when you knew it was time to make a change?

Detroit Reverse Kicks Off This Week! (VID)

As I was getting ready mentally to start my work week, I started thinking about Detroit Reverse.  It’s hard to believe that this event starts tomorrow!  You’ve heard Bryan Willmert and I talk about this before and what I really want you to get out of my message below is to get involved.  Change doesn’t happen without action.  Now is the time to act.  There are many opportunities to volunteer to help make this event a success for the students participating this week.  I encourage you to check them out and see first hand what Detroit Reverse will do to change the lives of the people participating in it.

“Cultural Divide”

DetroitReverse on Facebook and Twitter

What Do You Know? Share it!

Something has been on my mind lately.  Well a lot of things have been on my mind but I’ll write about one of those things today.  It’s the idea of sharing, particularly with the social web.

Many of the people I interact with in this space all agree on what we, as users who are passionate about the web, need to be focusing on:  educating,  teaching, sharing information.  For many companies, they are still trying to figure out how Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like can help business and engage consumers.

I was having a conversation with Shannon Paul last night at a TweetUp for Jeff Pulver‘s 140 Conference in Detroit.  She was telling me about an idea that she had to bring downtown companies together and really begin educating everyone about how the internet and the social web can help businesses.  This is a blossoming idea…hopefully more to share on that later.

On another occasion, Jason Falls was presenting to some folks at GM and he gave us his strategy for Twitter, “Share good (stuff).”

I’m amazed at the quality of people that I’ve been able to meet because of Twitter.  Each and every one wants to make a difference and educate others.  For those of us that make a living in this space, I encourage all of you to continue with that mindset and share the good stuff.  We all know that the internet isn’t a fad.  It’s going to continue to evolve the way we communicate with each other.  We have an opportunity to continue educate people and companies and build community.

In this spirit, I wanted to remind of you what’s happening in Detroit on October 20.  The 140 Conference will be happening at The Fillmore Theatre.  This conference has the opportunity to make a lasting impact on this community.  What is the story you want to tell?  Do you know someone who has a great story?  This conference has been about how the web has promoted change for good and made a difference.  If you already have experiences on how the social web has helped you or if you’re just remotely curious, register today!  A lot can be learned at this one day event.

What do you know?  How are you going to share it?  Have a great weekend everyone!

UPDATE: I just saw that my friend Dave Murray just posted this on his blog…dare I say great minds think alike?

Detroit Reverse…Breaking Down the Cultural Divide [video]

You’ve heard me talk about Detroit Reverse recently.  This has the potential to be great but can only achieve greatness if you get involved and help change the perception.  We need you, my social web / technology / networked brethren to help get the word out and talk about Detroit Reverse.

There WILL BE 500 high schoolers together the week of August 2 – 6.

They WILL BE visible in the community…both in the city and the suburbs.

If you see them or hear that they will be near you, go to them and help out.  And please, talk about this in your social networks.

To my friends from Future Midwest 2010, this is an opportunity to put into action the feelings you had back in April in Royal Oak.  All you need to do is GET INVOLVED.

The video below interviews two local high schoolers, one from the suburbs and another from the city.  Both talk about perceptions of one another.  Both talk about building TRUE relationships with one another and doing more than just volunteering for an afternoon.

Twitter: @detroitreverse

Facebook: Detroit Reverse