Do You Spend or Invest? And I’m not just talking about money…

craig groeschel podcastI listen to Craig Groeschel’s leadership podcast.  I decided to take a longer way to work this morning and drove through the countryside.  I chose a podcast where Greg challenged his listeners to invest instead of spend (Investing Your Resources the Right Way, Part 1).

Was he referring to money?  Not so much on this podcast.  He was asking his listeners:

  • Do you spend your time or do you invest your time?
  • Do you spend time with your team or do you invest in them?
  • Do you merely spend your resources or do you invest and leverage them?

This is all about resource allocation, Craig explained.

“Resource allocation is investing your available resources in the present to
accomplish your goals and objectives in the future.”

Spending is a one-and-done proposition, isn’t it?

“When you spend something, you’re using it up or paying it out. You’re making an even trade. But when you’re investing, you don’t expect an equal return—you expect an exponentially larger one.”

For example, you go out to eat.  You are spending money on a meal that may or may not bring future benefit.  You are making a trade – your spent money for a good meal.

But, you could go out to eat with your teenage daughter to invest time with her in creating a better connection with her.  Same restaurant.  Same food.  Same ambiance. Same cost of the meal.  But far different outcomes.  Spending vs Investing.

So think of your team at work right now.

  • Who do you need to invest time in this week?
  • How will you invest your time in meetings, projects, and people.
  • Where is the best place to allocate your financial resources in next year’s budget proposal you are working on?

The same holds true for your own personal development as a leader.  Are you spending your time each day or are you investing in yourself in becoming better?

  • Spending time in front of the TV night after night vs Investing in a good book that will sharpen your leadership skills.
  • Spending money hitting the drive-through on your way to work vs Investing in learning how to make healthier food choices and eating a wholesome breakfast at home.
  • Spending time during a break at work watching funny videos on social media vs Investing in your mental and physical well-being by going outside and taking a 15 minute walk.

Craig summarized his thoughts this way…

To get the highest return on your investment, you’ll need to be different than most leaders in a few key ways:

• Most leaders decide how to spend money. You’ll need to agonize about how to invest it.
• Most leaders want to use people to get the desired results. You’ll need to invest in helping leaders get better so that ultimately, the whole organization can get better.
• Most leaders spend their time doing tasks. You’ll need to intentionally invest your time achieving desired results.


A Life-Long Learner by Jim Johnson

This is an excerpt from my workbook, The Path to Promotion.  (previously titled “Right On”). This section is from the “be the right person” chapter…

Think about your current job responsibilities.  Have you mastered them?  Does the quality of your work reveal this?  Too often individuals believe they should be promoted but yet they have not mastered their current responsibilities.  How shallow and blind!

You need to develop a life of learning to prepare for future opportunities.  It begins with where you are today.  If there are areas of your job that you are not completely proficient in (proficient not perfection), then make it a priority to learn what you need to learn.

Proficiency brings so many benefits to you.  You will gain confidence.  A can-do attitude is hard to ignore and is “infectious”.  Job mastery demonstrates your competence.  You can control to some degree what others think of you.  Competency is always a favorable attribute.  And proficiency provides job security.  In today’s economy, you definitely want to be thought of as indispensable as possible.

A life of learning does not only take place on the job.  Are you learning outside of your daily shift?  One of the best ways to develop a life of learning is to read.  Your local public library is full of current magazines, journals and books that can aid in your personal development.  Read about current trends that affect your company, your department, and your daily duties.  You will be preparing yourself with useful knowledge for future projects and even for future interviews.

Area colleges and universities offer courses and degrees designed with the working professional in mind.  Degrees can be earned through in-class and online offerings.

Bottom line:  always learn.  Grow.  Develop yourself.

Being the right person means that you are committed to learning more               about yourself, your job, and your company.

Thought for Today – Creating Purposeful Workplaces

This morning, I was reviewing a book I recently read, Born to Build, and I want to share some of the comments that I reread this morning. This is something I’m going to be mulling over and acting upon.

  • Create a workplace that has a shared sense of purpose that
  • Connect employees on an emotional level.

It is so easy for our teams to get in a rut. Just showing up every day and falling into a routine. Not that routines are bad, but routines can blind us to our true purpose.

So how do we help our teams connect with that shared sense of purpose? Whose responsibility is it to make this happen?

Ideally it would be every employee’s responsibility to keep the purpose of the organization firmly in the front of their mind. But we all know that it takes leadership from the top to continually promote purpose and to help others focus on that purpose.

And one of the best ways to do this as a leader is to emotionally connect with your staff. That means spending intentional time needed to know them and their lives outside of work. That means helping them connect their work to the greater purpose. That also means to praise them when they have lived out that purpose so that they don’t miss when they actually do it.

How are you doing this at your organization? Share in the comments.

Curiosity – Leaders Can Encourage It!

Last evening, I read a very good article in the Sept/Oct 2018 issue of the Harvard Business Review.  The article, entitled “The Business Case for Curiosity” by Francesca Gino (Professor, Harvard), spelled out why curiosity is so important in our businesses and for our team members.

Prof. Gino defines curiosity as “the impulse to seek new information and experiences and explore novel possibilities“.  As much as I value curiosity, it was sobering to read “although leaders might say they treasure inquisitive minds, in fact most stifle curiosity fearing it will increase risk and inefficiency“.

Prof. Gino speaks of two barriers to curiosity:

  1. Leaders have the wrong mindset about exploration.  The fear here is this could lead to a “costly mess”, make the company harder to manage, and could possibly slow down operations.
  2. Leaders tend to seek efficiency to the detriment of exploration.  Prof. Gino uses Henry Ford’s drive to reduce production costs so much so that he was unable to be nimble enough to address General Motors surge in introducing a greater variety of automobiles for the public.

So how can a leader “bolster curiosity”?  Prof. Gino lists 5 ways:

  1. Hire for Curiosity
  2. The Leader should model inquisitiveness.
  3. Emphasize learning goals over or as much as performance goals.
  4. Let employees explore and broaden their interests.
  5. Have “why?” and “what if…?” and “how might we…?” days.

Harvard Business Review Sept cover

I am purposefully leaving out a lot of detail in this post. You should invest a small price to read this excellent article which can be found online here:

Or better yet, subscribe to HBR here: Harvard Business Review subscription information

Scott Druhot Kicks-off Season 2 of First Fridays – VIDEO

via Scott Druhot Kicks-off Season 2 of First Fridays – VIDEO

My brother and I are the cofounders of a networking/leadership forum in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We call it First Fridays.  Today was our kick off meeting for season two. I thought I would share our speaker’s presentation with this blog’s audience.