Define Success – Christian Church

I became Christian in my mid-20’s.  I take it very seriously, because I was on the other side (almost an atheist).  I do not mind other people struggling with their faith.  I had someone proudly tell me they were atheists, and I think she was kind of offended with my response of not really caring.  Wish they were Christians, but it is their choice.

I have seen many successful churches that have lost the spark for the Gospel and proclaiming Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior.  Many almost do not have a functioning Sunday School program and have a high restrictions on giving to the needy.

A friend of mine described a small church he went to down south.  He described a meeting where the debate was replacing the ratty old thread bare carpet or giving the money for the carpet to a needy group.  They donated the money.

I am not saying churches do not need good sanctuaries and facilities.  My church just built a new sanctuary.  The old one was 91-years-old and in great need of repair.  By the grace of God, we will get it paid off, and I pray it gets filled like it was last weekend with people.

Where my concern lies is we have to be on top of our game to “market” ourselves to the lost sheep.  The people, like myself at one time, who do not have a church home and searching for more meaning in their life.

We will not be a “success” in my eyes unless we lead in a strong Christian way.  Have our Sunday School’s filled up with kids and adults alike hungry to learn more about the Word of God.  Not act like a country club where we only take certain type of people, but take all people.  As an EMT, I like to say to my daughter, also an EMT, that we go into places that other people would not.  The church must do the same.

And we must NEVER stop questioning our actions or thoughts.  We are all sinful people.  We must present the Gospel in a way we are not “holier than thou”, but in a way, it shows Christ’s forgiveness for all.

May God bless us all, and may we all be successful in ways that would please Him.

Define Success – Shaky Market Leader

Two companies I have heard stories about I would refer to as shaky market leaders.  Both are still going, but both are not places that I have a good feeling about longevity.  Both are software companies in niche markets.

First one had a great owner and visionary, but his second level of management were not the best.  They had all been with them from the beginning, so he was blinded to their deficiencies.  The owner has since moved out of the “president” role and turned it over to one of the other managers.

The new president did a few morally questionable things.  The worst one was when he tried to secretly take a separated employee’s wife to the Caribbean for a week.  Can you imagine the morale of that employee and also the other people working with him when the employee is going through a separation with hopes that maybe things will get patched up, but the president uses the opening of the separation to swoop in.

I have heard long time employees of this company have been leaving.  One was there roughly 19 years, traveled to most of the clients, and dedicated her life to ensuring the software works at the client.  She was let go.  That has got to send shock waves across the company that a will liked, dedicated person is no longer there.

In 2000, this company had hired a large number of employees for Y2K.  After Y2K was over, they called mandatory meetings where they told the first group they are fired and the second group that the first group was gone.  Finances can be tough on companies, but you wonder about planning.

They have also started losing long term, large clients.  One of the largest is building their own software system now to replace their system.

The second one is still going great guns, but they are in a very fortunate market with less competition.  They have had good people from the beginning, but they also have had questionable dealings.

I have heard a number of their managers have not been truthful.  Over the years, many managers have been let go due to dishonesty with the ownership, but I question their logic on bringing these people in the first place.

One person in particular struck me.  I came to Christianity late.  Toyed with atheism, but then I woke up and realized what I had been overlooking all those years.

He was made a manager and put over a consulting office in another city.  He was let go for not being truthful to the owners.  He then went and became a pastor for a while.  I just shook my head in disbelief.

Ownership has to know the bitter truth.  They have to know why things are being done, and why things are not being done.  Fortunately, this company had a cash cow that kept giving and made it over their numerous mistakes.  I have heard many projects try to get off the ground only to burn and crash.

There was an evaluation on products where it did not matter the outcome, because they bought the product before evaluation was done.  They invested heavily in the product, and they invested heavily to move away from the product.

Both of these companies are “successes”, but I would not say they are as successful as they could be.  Great opportunities wasted from their initial successes from being market leaders.

Being successful in my mind encompasses doing things right.  Treating your employees well.  Making smart business moves.  Honesty in all levels to grow the company even more.  A rising tide lifts all boats including the employees that rely on these companies for their livelihood.

Define Success- The Employee Evaluation

I hate evaluations.  I absolutely detest them.   Why?  Because they have become a thing of being overly critical of employees rather than stating clearly what is expected of the employee and making it a tool to help the employee reach his full potential.

In The One Minute Entrepreneur, it talks about how evaluations should be.  It used a story of a college professor.  The professor gave the final exam to his students the first day of class.  He then proceeded to teach them throughout the semester what the answers are to the questions.  His goal was for those students to get an A in his class and to gain the knowledge of the important aspects of the subject.

Now from the story in the book, the professor was always clashing with the other professors who did not like that style.  Which is better though, knowing the subject or ensuring some students will not succeed?

Jack Welch at GE would eliminate the bottom 10% of his employees.  My full time employer is moving a bell curve for evaluations.  It causes employees to work in fear, and more mistakes will occur.

I prefer departments to be “lean and mean”.  Not that many employees, but they are all working hard.  Instead of having some of the employees having to be sacrificed, all employees are aces at what they do.

A saying I have heard over and over again in my entrepreneur path is “a rising tide raises all boats”.  We do not need to intentionally destroy an employee’s ego and morale from an employee evaluation.  We need to encourage all employees to get an A for the department.

Define Success – The College Professor

My college daughter called me this week.  A professor was telling her class probably none of them will be successful.  Being my daughter, she loves capitalism, believes in working hard, setting goals, freedom, and loves the Lord.  She took offense.

To give the college professor a break, we all have seen this degrading opinions of others even with young kids when they are put down by people in power.  Like every parent has, I have come to the defense of my girls at various ages when adults feel “it is their right” to reprimand my kids even with me being in the vicinity, and at times, they do not have a leg to stand on when I question them about what happened and exactly why I was not informed of this “issue”.  If they felt that strongly, should they have not informed me about it?  Instead, they use words to break down the kids when the kids cannot stand up to them.

Why do people do that?  Why do people in power, like a teacher or boss, say you will not be a success?  Why do they essentially say you are a failure and always will be?  What is success in their minds?

My 18-year-old wants to be a rural doctor.  To prepare, she has laid out her classes for the next four years and listened to a presentation on a rural medicine program.  She is an EMT basic, lifeguard, and works at the health department.  I would not classify her as a failure for being a freshman in college, which failure would be the opposite of success.

My view is everyone one of those kids in my daughter’s class should not have been told that.  Instead I would point out the definition of success.  It may not be the big car, multiple houses, and tons of money.  Many times it is choosing to do something you love to do and being the best you can be at it.  As the Bible states, work like you are working for the Lord.  Give it your all.

Success may be the person who says I would rather help the homeless or the needy than to make a six figure salary.  It may be the one who does make six figures, but nobody thinks he is a success due to driving old car and giving to charity.

An old farmer I know drives the old pickup, reads the Wall Street Journal daily, watches business channels, and invests heavily in the stock market to great success.  I personally know he has caught things in the market and invested in corporations before his brokers had it on their radar.  Looking at him, you would not appreciate his genius or the success he has had.

Like I stated, I suspect the definition of success for this college professor is different than my own.  Being in a position of guiding young people, he did those kids a disservice by stating they will likely fail in life.  My feeling is this is America, and every person has a chance to succeed no matter their stage in life, and we as people with some influence over them, boss or teacher or parent or just an example, needs to bolster their belief they can succeed on their own.

Upcoming Projects – Winchester EMS Website

My oldest daughter is working at the health department in the town where she goes to college at.  When she is home, she assists with the local ambulance.  She had to contact all the ambulance, fire, and police departments for their local county and determine where their boundaries are for the people they serve.

She found it difficult to track down the boundaries of the respective agencies.  Since our local ambulance service does not have a website and I am a developer with multiple websites, she has tasked me with the job of improving Winchester EMS’s web presence.

Winchester EMS is a volunteer based system.  We serve a large rural area comprising of thousands of people.  At times, multiple crews have been dispatched, and it has been many late nights and a lot of time put in by the volunteers.

To serve this area effectively, we have three ambulances, an emergency truck, and a mass casualty trailer.  The mass casualty trailer serves our area and multiple surrounding counties.

We always appreciate donations.  If you would like to make a monetary donation, please mail a check to:


Winchester EMS

PO Box 122

Winchester, IL     62694


We appreciate all the support we receive.

Upcoming Projects – Redesigning Forestry Programs

The main program for RD Concepts has been our forestry programs.  It has been a blessing, and we appreciate everyone that utilizes them.

To better serve our users, we are in the process of taking them a step farther.  Improvements are being planned to make this a multiple environment system.

Thanks to a user in Massachusetts, we are going to improve on the reporting side of the system also.  He made some suggestions that will be added into the next version.

We are always glad to hear from our users and suggestions.  After all, we are here for our customers and providing them products to improve their lives.

Upcoming Projects – Charitable Tracking

Due to my workload over the last couple of weeks, I have been negligent on working on a charitable tracking program for the local Kiwanis group.  They are needing to take a spreadsheet for their Christmas baskets and improve on organization.

Right now, I have the spreadsheet.  I have researched it.  My plans are to import the spreadsheet into the database for multiple platform approach.  Use the desktop for reporting and heavy lifting.  A tablet will allow them to be able to take it with them and update it on the fly.  Just have synchronization with the different environments when needed.

This program is a way to try out different techniques and learn new skills.  It is also a way to give back to the community and help out local friends here in the small town of Winchester, IL.

Upcoming Projects – New Skills

For the last two weeks, I unfortunately could not blog.  One of the big things was EMT exam.  Other thing was working on an exercise program with my youngest daughter.  Life seems to get in the way of things at times, and you cannot do everything.  Have to manage time the best we can.

One of the items I have been working on is improving on my database skills.  This one is picking up a new database tool.  I have been a database administrator in the past, but I need to work on the mobile database front.  My goal is to be able to utilize the database skill to jump between the Windows desktop and a mobile environment for my systems.  Allow a system to run in both environments and be able to synchronize the database between them.  Give the users more capabilities and utilize the strengths of both environments.

While I am doing this, other companies are doing some exciting things to improve their offerings.  A friend at Karen Anderson Designs in Jacksonville, IL has combined his love of disc golf and using it to improve his skills in PHP programming.  The founder of Lenam Technologies of St Louis decided to take their medical reporting skills and moving into the R programming language to further enhance their offerings to their clients.

What an exciting time for RD Concepts, Karen Anderson Designs, and Lenam Technologies.  Each company is working in their perspective areas in this vast technology field to bring more value to their current and future customers.

Education – Faith of a Mustard Seed

The idea for this week’s blog really came from thinking about the band Rush, an artistic powerhouse of a band of true musicians.  Just the musical talent and the faith in those talents have led to an amazing gift to its legions of fans.

Needing a way to think about closing this week’s blogs utilizing Rush, I was drawing a blank.  In church this morning, the sermon talked about faith of a mustard seed.  I can imagine three guys in the early 70’s playing high school dances with just a small amount of faith betting it all on their talents.

Miles Davis dropped out of Juilliard to educate himself in jazz from the greats at that time.  Sam Calagione went to the local library to learn about breweries.  Fred Smith wrote a paper in college outlying FedEx even though the professor did not think the concept was feasible.

All these examples this week of the various topics on education and going with that we sometimes have to educate ourselves in an informal sense if we have too shows these people with the faith of a mustard seed in their abilities.

God said we can move mountains with the faith as small as a mustard seed.  I believe this to be true just from these examples.  They all may not be Christians.  In fact, I never look at their religious beliefs.  I do have a strong belief that God wants us all to be successful, and sometimes it is the crazy idea that you can’t shake will lead to a successful life as you try to follow through on making your idea a reality.

So thank You God for the many opportunities, for the faith You give us, for the guidance down our path (even if not a straight path), and the opportunities You have given us to educate ourselves when we have too.

Education – Sometimes not a Straight Path

I read and listen to a lot of Dan Miller.  Dan actually almost has a doctorate.  Dan was down to his final writing and decided to write the highly successful 48 Days to the Work You Love.  In his mind, why write a book for five college professors to read and then it never sees the light of day when he could write a book to be read by millions.

One of the things concerning me is the student loan debt in a terrible economy.  When I switched jobs 14 years ago, the main thing that drew me to my current position in the corporate world was the continuing education.  I actually made it through grad school without student loan debt.  I would have not chosen to go back to school if it was not for this benefit.

Dave Ramsey’s formal education is impressive, and his success came early in the real estate market.  Then he went bankrupt.  After that, his experience from that has helped others to be education about finances through his coaching and writing work.

If you want an informal education, Steve Jobs can show that.  Dropped out of college, but he still attended classes unofficially by sneaking into the courses he was interested.  This gave him the artistic flair his creations are credited with by attending those courses.  For having an education on being a CEO, it took being thrown out of Apple and having to found NeXT Computer.  It was at NeXT that people accredited his education at being a CEO.

We may not be on a straight path in our education.  Sometimes the education comes in unexpected places.  I do not have any collegiate business classes, so I have educated myself by being a voracious reader of business authors.  It is not a straight path as an MBA would be, but it has served me in being educated in the business world in a very unconventional way.