I hate cynicism. It is like cancer to the human soul. It is especially deadly when it infects an organization.
A few years into my tenure as the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, I thought we had pretty much eliminated it from our company. I was hoping the disease was in remission. But, one morning I discovered that it was still alive and well—at least in parts of the company. The worst part was that a few of our leaders were manifesting symptoms of the disease.
My backside aches this morning. Forty miles of riding a bike with a well worn seat will do that to you. But this pain is nothing compared to what almost happened yesterday.
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As Kellie and I ventured through the countryside on our twenty-one speeds, we experienced a pain that many people experience in their own personal lives and don’t even know it. Here’s what happened and how it relates to you.
I have a tendency to rewrite history. For example, my wife Ari and I will talk about a family trip with our two kids, and I’ll say what a wonderful time we had and how fantastic the kids were.
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With an incredulous look, she’ll ask me if I remember when Tam (our three-year old) woke up five times during the night. Or if I’ve forgotten when Hannah (our five-year-old daughter) refused for half an hour to get out of the swimming pool. “Really?” I’ll reply, “I don’t remember that part.”
I love it when I get to spend time with my friend Randy Ingermanson who runs AdvancedFictionWriting.com. I always come away from our conversations challenged and changed.
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Our recent conversation happened in a hotel lobby in Dallas where he shared about something he learned about goal setting.
Vision and strategy are both important. But there is a priority to them. Vision always comes first. Always. If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don’t have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.
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I have seen this over and over again in my professional and personal life. Once I got clear on what I wanted, the how almost took care of itself. Let me give you an example.
Today at Thomas Nelson we promoted Mark Schoenwald, our President and Chief Operating Officer, to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer. Effective immediately, I am stepping out of active management of the company, and turning over the reins to Mark. However, I will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board.
Michael Hyatt, Chairman, and Mark Schoenwald, the new CEO of Thomas Nelson
I hired Mark in 2005 to be our Chief Sales Officer. I promoted him to President and Chief Operating Officer in 2009. I have watched him grow and develop over the years. He is an outstanding executive in every way, yet humble and committed to our company’s Christian mission. He was my first choice as a successor, and I know he will do a terrific job.
My friend and colleague, Mary Graham, brought this concept video about the future to my attention. It is produced by Corning Glass. It shows what is possible in the near-future. It is worth taking five minutes to watch this.
In my role at Thomas Nelson, I have had the privilege of seeing some amazing technology. This one from Corning is similar to others I have seen from Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. The future is coming faster than you think. Personally, this kind of stuff gets me excited.
Over the past few months, I have been doing a lot of thinking about reading—particularly about reading books. This was brought to my attention again last week when I interviewed Dr. Ben Carson for a series of video broadcasts on the topic of leadership, which I did for the Chick-fil-A Leadercast.
Yesterday, I stumbled across an incredibly simple but brilliant video about the end of publishing. It was produced by the marketing staff at Dorling Kindersley, a division of Penguin Group, for a recent sales conference. It talks about why Generation Y (those born between 1977 and 1994) thinks that books are dead and boring.
I have spent the last three days at the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference in New York. This conference is designed to address the issues related to publishing and technology. This was my second year to attend. Five of my colleagues from Thomas Nelson accompanied me.
Things are going from bad to worse, right? People have their priorities upside down. Marriages are falling apart. The economy is in shambles. The environment is deteriorating. Worse, the younger generation doesn’t seem to care. The future looks bleak.
If that’s what you think, then think again. Watch this video. Share it with your children, your youth group, and the 20-somethings in your workforce. Then have a conversation about what is possible if we make different choices.
Question: What is your vision of the future. What is your responsibility to make a difference?