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Posted On Wednesday, 16 February 2022 20:20
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Every Birthday and Christmas I looked forward to presents, and was rarely disappointed by my amazing parents who truly gave me so much to be thankful for as a child.

But the most important thing for me always was the handwritten letter.

Be it a simple card, maybe a little cash fell out as I opened it, or into my later teen years as my Dad would pen thoughts that seemed to just flow through him regarding his insights into my life, and my Mom with her witty, hilarious cards that she still sends to this day, I’m all about the written word.

I have carried this into my own life.  Perhaps you’ve received a handwritten note from me, either in a card, the front of a gifted book, or a text/email that was just a bit too long…yet you read it anyway, because it was so flowery, funny, and fascinating (yeah right!).

I love writing.  I prefer it to video all day long.  I make videos because we are supposed to nowadays, but I would rather read a 30 minute epistle in blog form than click to watch a video that is 4 minutes long.

My children and spouse must endure these same habits I have cultivated over years of practice.  In fact, recently I realized, the only gift I give on holidays is the handwritten card to my family members, while my wife takes care of the presents.  She’s better at shopping and knowing what they want, I’m better at telling them how much they are loved and what they will become when they live The Promise.  Sometimes I’ll stash some cash in there so they’ll be even happier.

This month our family celebrates something once a week, between birthdays and holidays, and so it is a month long of letters that matter.

My watch just buzzed on my wrist to remind me to stand.  I have continually ignored its notice.  I just realized I have been sitting for 3 hours completely zoned into writing letters to my children…letters they probably will toss aside, that will hide in a drawer, and that perhaps they’ll scour for in the distant future.

Whereas my wife has stacks of letters from her adoring husband, a journey of our lives in my flowing cursive, that will soon be illegible as the art form fades away.  She has claimed, if there’s a fire, she’s grabbing my journals and letters first.  I say we should get the kids and the dog first, and then she gives me that look.

Today I wrote handwritten short cards to the children, and then typed the long-form letters, so they could at least read them, since my cursive to them is the equivalent of Reformed Egyptian, and there is no Urim & Thummim in our home.

To write a great letter, I look at letters from years past, as I always copy them before I send them, to see how I can get better.

If you haven’t written a letter in a while, or just bought a card and left Hallmark to pen the thoughts for you, give the card still but then pull out a nice crisp white sheet 8.5×11 and commit to something greater!

Here are few simple ways to write a better letter:

  1. 1. Find the right pen, stationary, and sitting arrangement to be comfortable, with silence all around

    1. 2. Look through old photos, read journal entries, and consider the time, moments and achievements between the last letter to whom you are writing

    2. 3. Recall the entire life of the person, old memories, funny stories, lessons learned

    3. 4. Consider the path you want the letter to take: If for Love, the joy they bring to you still, the fondness of growing older together, the commitment that remains; If for Birthday of a child, the greatness you see in their accomplishments and what you see they will become; If for An Apology, your own vulnerability and request for grace and love.

    4. 5. Showtime: Every letter must begin and end on an upswing, beginning with joy and gratitude, humor or laughter, while the ending may lead as a rushing wind to an emotional tear-jerker that leaves the reader breathless to wanting more and desperate to call you or return the favor.

As you practice this skill of writing a better letter, you will find what my friend Jason Kotecki coined as “your wit & whimsy”, as well as your Signature Moves.  Some of mine include flowering a memory to become a story & make it funnier than it really was, heaping praise that veers on blasphemy, sharing insights regarding the reader they hadn’t considered for their own greatness and my belief in their capability.

How about you?

Anyone to write a letter to?

What are your techniques for doing so?

I Promise you, there’s a chance to make someone’s day, every single day, with a letter….maybe even tomorrow.

Posted On Wednesday, 16 February 2022 00:00 Written by

It is no longer a passing problem that will just eventually vanish into the noise of social media — businesses of all sizes are consistently short-staffed.

Maybe you merely heard about this occurrence on your favorite podcast, read about it on social media, or perhaps you experienced it firsthand through extensive wait times at your favorite restaurant or in line at the grocery store.

Wherever it has been made prevalent in your life, it is a constant issue following the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic. But a question remains: Is the pandemic really to blame for this downturn in consistent employment at businesses and organizations of varying sizes? Could there be other factors at play as to why this global shortage of workers is taking place?

Coined the “Great Resignation,” this has largely become what I refer to in my Anticipatory Leader System as a Soft Trend — a future possibility that is open to influence. To understand how you can leverage Soft Trends to your advantage as an Anticipatory Leader or an Anticipatory Organization, let’s explore it further.  

Soft Trends, Soft Assumptions, and the Great Resignation

The actual reference to this occurrence became more known during 2021, following the initial year of the pandemic.

Having dug into much of the short-staffed businesses all across the country and around the world, news outlets aimed the focus of the Great Resignation on the pandemic itself, assuming that most chose not to work due to health and safety concerns or perhaps because companies somehow let them go for not being an essential worker.

There may be some truth to this; however, it may come as a shock to you that this was actually occurring in 2019 and prior and has been an ongoing Soft Trend. In my Hard Trend Methodology, the characteristics of Soft Trends are largely rooted in both Hard Assumptions and Soft Assumptions.

A Hard Assumption, in a way, is similar to a Hard Trend — they are based on recorded data and factual information indicating that these trends are actually occurring. Soft Assumptions are purely assumptions with no factual data to support their existence — the ones that are most open to influence.

The focus of the Great Resignation being on the pandemic alone is a Soft Trend based on a Soft Assumption. We have only fragments of data, if any at all, that validates that claim, making it an assumption in and of itself and a trend that can be leveraged and fully transformed by the right Anticipatory Organization.

Where Did Companies Go Wrong?

Knowing that the Great Resignation is a Soft Trend future possibility that can be changed — and really should be changed — what caused it to start even prior to the pandemic?

The Hard Assumption of the Great Resignation is that statistically, companies began to stagnate prior to the pandemic, resting on their laurels, fostering a wait-and-see mentality, and preserving legacy systems that always set them behind the curve. In addition to that, employee training, benefits, and overall retention was often placed on the back burner, leaving individuals with unique skill sets with very little incentive to stick around.

Accelerated digital disruptions have been taking hold in many industries as well. Educated employees paying attention to these transformative changes in the industry started worrying about the longevity of their careers at companies that do not foster a united Futureview® or that spend more money being agile than proactive.

Essentially, these employees were worried about being replaced by technology that they instead could be trained to work alongside, so many sought different opportunities or went the independent route with their skills by way of freelancing or contract work.

Leveraging This Soft Trend

But to mention once more to all who are reading this, the shift in the workforce is a Soft TrendYou can influence it and even leverage it to your and your organization’s advantage. Since it has been identified as a Soft Trend, including the Hard and Soft Assumptions surrounding it, the hard part has been done for you.

Now comes deciding what exactly about this Soft Trend you can use to your advantage.

There are likely dozens of ways to incentivize all different generations of workers looking for a permanent post in their specific fields, but some of the biggest incentives based on Hard Assumptions are employee training, implementation of technology, and flexibility — namely, options to work remotely.

In those three categories and beyond, consider another principle from my Anticipatory Leader System: exponential thinking.

In regard to employee training, are you investing in a dynamic, two-way curriculum to help employees grow in their careers, both at your organization and in general? Or is the training simply a one-way, static lesson that employees will feel was a waste of their time and your money?

What about implementing transformational and perhaps disruptive technology? Are you demonstrating to your workforce or team members that your organization has a united Futureview on technological changes in the industry so as to avoid disruption by said technology? Or does your workforce seem constantly worried that their jobs and careers could soon be eliminated by a technology you don’t see coming?

Finally, flexibility is huge. Do your employees have a flexible work life that helps them balance their family time and their jobs so they never feel burnt out and, thus, unproductive in their roles? Humans cannot go 24/7, and a large portion of the Great Resignation is rooted in a better work-life balance search. Find an exponential way to offer that, such as remote working options.

To better learn how not only to unite your workforce Futureview but to sharpen your Anticipatory skills as a business leader, consider my Anticipatory Leader System. This will help you find ways to recognize how employee patterns will change in the future as well.

Posted On Tuesday, 15 February 2022 00:00 Written by
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Housing prices continue to rise. While maybe not as rapidly as a few months ago, still moving up at a rapid pace. When you add into it rising interest rates, the pressure on housing costs is a struggle to explain and even harder for some to understand. The cost of living is higher across the board, from food and energy, to just about everything we consume or use. Nobody is happier about paying more for the “same thing”, home ownership still represents a significant value compared to almost everything else. Let me share with you, my thoughts.

Everyone must live somewhere, and there is a cost to either renting or owning where you live. While housing prices and financing costs of buying a home have risen significantly, so have rents! In many cases, the net costs of renting are rising just as fast or faster in most markets as property appreciation and those financing costs associated with purchasing are. The big difference is, when purchasing a home, you stop the rising costs of that home and take advantage of the rising market as a participant in the rise while you have frozen the cost of the debt incurred with that purchase. Yes, taxes and insurance can increase your total obligation, and maintenance and repairs also have a place in this discussion; but those costs pale in comparison to the total rise in net rent, not to mention the tax advantages of ownership and the ability to control and modify the property.

Now each market is different, and it is certainly worth it to take a few minutes and calculate a specific set of numbers based on your market. So, lets do the math. YOU select an appropriate property in your area that recently sold. Look at the cost of the home and the approximate monthly payment on that home. Then go back and look at your appreciation rate of your area for the past year and calculation what that payment might have been a year ago. Once that is done, find a rental unit that is similar in size, location, and quality and compare what is currently available in your market. Then go back and look at the rental increases in your area for the past year and compare payments. In most areas, owning works out better than renting and the P&I never goes higher, and all the property value increases are the owners to enjoy. And before you go crazy about possible repairs; they can easily be budgeted for, or you could just purchase a home warranty if that makes you more comfortable! Nobody likes higher costs; but owning almost always produces greater VALUE!

Questions or comments: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Monday, 14 February 2022 00:00 Written by

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