Breaking Barriers

In my cup collection is one of annual cups for AFPRESS, a concept company extension of a larger insurance corporation. The cup and the year were titled Breaking Barriers. Other executives mocked us openly. The venture was not popular because it challenged the norm, it threatened mediocrity. And of course, because it worked. A small group of staff written off as failures went on to grow from falling to $4.5mm worth of retail digital print publishing in a falling industry. Indeed, they broke many barriers of customer service, production, quality, and quantity. Barriers mostly are mental impositions created by small vision. They can be broken.

Oh, the reason I wrote this article? I’ve been working with some pastors on getting that plateau busting in motion. As part of that, I put together a quick starter that takes about 30 minutes MINISTRY METRIC MATRIX OF GROWTH. The MMM is FREEEE. I like pastors. I like local churches.

Throughout my menagerie room are similar cups and momentos. Consider the “Year of The Plan” for C.R. Anthony corporation where we shocked the courts and pulled a company out of chapter 11 bankruptcy in 18 months and became profitable and lithe. That was a fun set of barriers to break. Then there is the “Best Place to Work in IT” award from ComputerWorld, where our director team led in outstanding recognition. A great memory was leading alongside others in a pastoral team to see a plateued non-profit move from 1500 membership to 5500 membership and move from being 99% white to completely multi-cultural where no one racial heritage was 51%.

That non-profit/church breakthrough took 3 years. In fact most breakthroughs in which I’ve participated took about 3 years. Whether it was retail, insurance, non-profit, or healthcare, the breakthroughs have a pattern. My fourth major book, STUMBLING INTO MIRACLES outlines personal progressions involved in those breakthroughs. It will take you to see many individual barrier breakthroughs that we see today in SOLUM working with folks struggling through the I’ve HAAAAD It! Hopelessness, anger, addiction, abuse, anxiety, and depression are horried barriers. Developing a systematic workshop to apply to those has been a great and fulfilling journey. It isn’t a book, but a personnally mentored workshop. But then the other three, TIME TO LEAD (community and culture), BY GRACE (churches) , and MANAGE WELL (corporate departments and entrepreneurial efforts) all have similar themes. Breaking barriers is not easy, but it has some commonalities in personal life and business and community endeavors. And if you are a person of prayer TRANSFORMER’S PRAYER is a good quick place to start.

So, why write so much about barrier breaking transformation? Why help others? Why take on giants instead of just living mundane? Because it can be done and you can do it. We are working on a huge barrier now that we have broken in one place and want to extend to many. It only took a few years to break the barrier, but now we are looking to break nationwide. SOLUM is the flagship of that breakthrough.

Are you ready for the commonalities? No matter the industry or endeavor, I’ve found a few.

  1. Inventory What Is. Too often we apply change before we apply understanding. Covey tells us, “Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood.” Yes. Even better seek first to understand before you seek to pose a solution. You may be totally off base in what you know. A production group was off target by 14 hours a day. They were supposed to hit target at 7am daily and were hitting at 9pm. What a mess. Inventory and a little sorting and structuring took out the excess and put production on target consistently.
  2. Determine the objective in measureable terms. How often I ‘ve gone into a corporate fix to find out the owners did not have a clear objective for the team attempting to perform the impossible task of hitting an invisible and moving target. Pshaw! Quit treating people that way. Get deep. Figure out the target and make it clear to everyone involved. Even in church work, we figured out the key metrics both tangible and intangible and watched them as they helped us reach our greater goal.
  3. Inspect what you expect. Expect what you inspect. As you apply small changes implement tracking tools that require little effort. People spending time on tracking tools are not spending time on what they are attempting to accomplish. One team set impossible objectives for production and celebrated as percentages were clicked off on the way to the top goal that they did reach.
  4. Enjoy the journey. Celebrate milestones. A team of printers had a great time when a customer, who had expressed disdain openly, awarded them a big party when they reached 100% of the customer’s business with joy. Cool, huh! My wife bought me a white cap with 100 on it. The naysayers just grumbled, but we celebrated.

That’s it. You can go read a book full of other markers and information by selecting any of those referenced or change your life by following the I’ve HAAAAD It! link. But working on these four major attention items will get you in quick and reliable motion.

Keep your eye peeled as we break through national barriers. Better than that, break through your own. If you’d like, I’d be happy to do a one-one coaching session with you for personal barrier breaking. I’m not free. But I’m good. No brag. Just fact.

Oh, the reason I wrote this article? I’ve been working with some pastors on getting that plateau busting in motion. As part of that, I put together a quick starter that takes about 30 minutes MINISTRY METRIC MATRIX OF GROWTH. The MMM is FREEEE. I like pastors. I like local churches.

Phil Larson, thethinkdirector phil@solumcommunity.net 405.494.0637 Schedule a 30 minute FREEEEE breakthrough interview.