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People are your best asset!….Really? (1 of 2) April 18, 2013

Posted by thehutch in personal, ponderings.
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Craftsman at Work

The phrase “People are your best asset” is one that I have both used and heard relayed to me on numerous occasions over the years and one that raises different responses, usually dependant on the context, from me personally. As a result, I have decided to do a couple of posts to try and sharpen my own thinking.

More often than not, the phrase/expression is used to show value and is used in a context to demonstrate that people are important, people are valuable and that we must not forget the importance of people. However, I struggle with calling people an ‘asset’. Why?

  • People are not commodities to be used but individuals or communities that should be valued
  • It implies ownership of people and this has dreadful connotations
  • It is about the best for ‘me’….whereas, it should be about us

These three things alone convince me that it is a phrase that may not be the most suitable to use. Is there a better way to express the same thing? I think that there is and that it is one known to us all, particularly in a Christian context. What about, “love your neighbour as you love yourself“? I think this has a much better feel to it, what do you think?


Part 2/2 comes tomorrow

: “going nowhere jobs”….excuse me? Poor communication. December 10, 2012

Posted by thehutch in church, thoughts.
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The way we communicate and the things that we say are so important. It can be a little harder for those in church contexts because levels of expectation can be different.
This weekend, one church service, that I attended, had an opening to a sermon that got things completely wrong. The person speaking/preaching used an illustration that gave all the wrong messages. The introduction to the sermon spoke of a less glamorous job and described it as “going nowhere” and worthless. It was poor and I was really surprised and am left disappointed in the illustration, the message conveyed and the environment in which it was said.
How do we respond to this? How do we reflect on poor communication?
Firstly, we need to understand that the speaker (in the cold light of day) would not agree with the sentiments they expressed. They were trying to open up a long sermon with an illustration that captured people’s attention – it certainly captured attention, but for all the wrong reasons, it was poor communication and demonstrated a lack of thought. When speaking publicly we need to think through all our illustrations before we use them, you can’t be too careful.
Secondly, we need to weigh carefully the things we hear, understanding the speaker, the context and acknowledging that not all those that speak in a public context are experienced. Mistakes can happen!
Having a job is a blessing in current economic times, we cannot afford to dismiss those in less sought after positions, we should stand with them to encourage and support them. In truth we need to be more careful in our illustrations, in how we communicate and how we share any message.

Controlling people October 8, 2012

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The last couple of weeks have seen an extraordinary number of revelations regarding Jimmy Savile and the ‘open secrets’ regarding his off screen persona, character and habits. The stories are gross and heartbreaking.
However, the aspect of the stories that I have found astounding, concern the control that Jimmy Savile had over people. He kept the allegations of inappropriate behaviour hidden from the public gaze because people were afraid to challenge him. It was not just individuals but organisations and news agencies. This is an extraordinary hold that he had over people.
This type of control is not new, it can be seen in many leaders who have a control over their organisations, individuals, churches, in fact anywhere. Leaders who can sit in meetings and ‘paralyse’ other contributions, use their position to enforce control over proceedings and care only for the agenda that they desire. If individuals speak out, they are quickly silenced. These behaviours are unhealthy and should not be tolerated, yet they abound and go unchecked.
If only people would stand together against such abuse, unite against behaviours that are destructive and work together for a healthy style of leadership that begins with humility.
Thankfully not everyone is guilty of the types of crimes that have filled our papers this week, but there are still those who are broken and laid low because of individuals who abuse their power over others.
Are you prepared to stand up and be counted? If you are, I trust that you will not find yourself alone.

Strength equals weakness May 25, 2012

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What is your strength? What are you really good at? Take time to think on this because your strength may often turn out to be your biggest weakness.

Who are you watching? April 22, 2012

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Buckaroo by thehutch
Buckaroo, a photo by thehutch on Flickr.

When watching the parade and gun salute for the Queen, in Hyde Park, yesterday, there was an unexpected spectacle as one of the horses was ‘spooked’ by the events. This was not a part of the programmed events but there was a valuable lesson.
The crowd were taken by the horse acting out of character, it was bucking and acting in a way that was out of control. However, whilst this was happening, all the participants of the parade ignored the horse and continued with their responsibilities. Everything else appeared as clockwork. Horses are herding animals and so as the parade closed, the bucking horse followed the herd.
In leadership, we often spend hours concentrating on the ‘bucking horse’ at the expense of everything else. There are times that we could ignore the commotion and see no apparent negative affects to our needed outcomes.
Do we spend too much time and focus too much attention on the ‘bucking horse’? Who are you watching? Who is stealing your time?

Is trust genuine? March 19, 2012

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One of my favourite TV shows is Hustle, sadly ended but a wonderful show.  The concept of the show demonstrated that people who are greedy can be ‘hustled’ into parting with their cash if they feel they can have more.  The gang would build a ‘facade of trust’ and through this the con could be completed.

I have been pondering how people often ‘hustle’ their way through life by building a facade of trust, yet fail to deliver.  They draw people in, use them for their own ends and then spit them out.  Harsh?  Maybe, but by raising the question, I am convinced that a number of readers are now thinking through their contacts and labelling someone to watch out for.

Be careful, the Con is On!

anger and aggression – is it ever a good thing today? February 13, 2012

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Is there ever a good time to be angry?  Is there a good time to be aggressive?

Was your answer the same for each of the above questions?  In 2012, there are different views expressed to previous generations and whilst there may be good reasons for change, I wonder if we are becoming less tolerant.  Should we allow a healthy dose of each and, if so, what is ‘healthy?


presence when it matters January 27, 2012

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So often we take our pithy comments or our attending of events lightly.  They matter more than we would believe……it matters more to people when the chips are down and are likely never to be forgotten.

A young person, with whom I had a special privilege of working with, brought this truth to home in my own life.  He was a ‘star’ youth group member when his closest friend was killed in a road traffic accident, it was a tough time that hit us all hard.  This youngster in particular removed himself from people and his grief took a heavy toll.  A long time later he went missing and I was asked to help find him.  In a moment of inspiration, I went straight to where he was, said nothing, and sat near him until he was ready to leave the gravestone by which he sat.  We said very little and as I left him at his front door, he said, “Thank you, I knew you would understand.”

Sometimes, our presence matters above all else.  Where do we find ourselves when it really matters?

quietly moving on April 12, 2011

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The cult of ‘celebrity’ is often knocked, battered and beaten, yet how often have we dived feet first into the mire and through even the best of intentions found ourselves being exactly the same as that which we despise.

In Christian ministry, youthwork of all shapes and sizes, charity work and so forth, we have to tread the fine line of ‘selling’ what we do in order that we have the finances to survive.  As we become successful, we need to do more and more to keep the dreams alive.  Bigger, better, stronger, wider, deeper, higher……the publicity begins to go beyond the truth and the myth is alive and kicking, we believe our own hype and we arrive……celebrity.  We have great pasts, hope for great futures and in the meantime can forget about today.

However, there are those that are quietly moving on.  They do not get the national recognition, are not on all the social networking ‘top tens’, yet their work and ministry is vital.  Day by day they carry on, recognised by just a significant few but not receiving the plaudits that others may receive.  The youthworker in Islington, the community worker in Dagenham, the Church worker in Southwark…….quietly moving on.

I just want to say a big thank you to those forgotten heroes who day by day, week by week, give of themselves, supporting and helping others, even when the recognition is absent.  You are special people, Thank You!

when people hurt you June 23, 2010

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No-one who has contact with other members of the human race will ever be immune from some of the hurts and pains of disappointment and upset that will occur.  It is a fact of life.  How we deal with these moments determine how those relationships will continue into the future – will they thrive or survive?

1) Do not respond immediately – immediate responses are rarely helpful

2) Consider the need for a response – there may be no need to respond but if you do be careful not to further stir the fire of discord

3) Be courteous and gracious – you cannot determine the path others take, you can determine your own steps

4)What can you learn? – is this an opportunity to learn something new?, to discover new ways of working?

5) Do not bear grudges – this helps nobody

These are just a few things that I have tried to action, wish that I was more successful.