Lightning Strikes…

Lightning Strikes…

West Texas has had several storms this year that have been memorable in that they have been filled with lots of rain, thunder and strong lightning strikes. It’s beautiful to look at and to listen to and I must admit I love to open my door and watch the power of God rocking the world around me. That being said, there are times when the beauty and grandeur of it all causes destruction. The other day a house in my neighborhood was struck by lightning and it caused a pretty significant fire in that house. It was shocking to the owners as they were left with fire damage they needed to overcome. I cannot imagine having a perfectly secure home get lit up by a storm. I also cannot imagine the aftermath of a house fire that requires finding a Texas Public Adjuster to get the necessary money so that you can put your lives back together. But, it has to be done – recovery of security and recovery of a home.

All of the above brings me to the point of this blog, which is to make a strong recommendation for those who find themselves in this tough situation. If you are currently looking for an insurance claims company that handles Texas fire damage claims I want to point you to a group that has successfully worked out several insurance claims for people I know. This company, Abba Claims, is run by a very professional staff that has as its leader a man who gets very passionate about over-delivering on his promises. They say that they will get you the money you need to rebuild and renovate your home and they often get you more than you are asking for to get things back in shape. I want to suggest that you check out this group at www.abbaclaims.com. Even if you don’t yet have a problem like water damage or fire damage, I would tell you to go ahead and put this company down as a first choice. You don’t want to be reactionary – being ready for something like what happened to this family I mentioned above. They couldn’t have ever thought that something like this fire would happen to them and they of course would have never been prepared to call on a company that would help them get back on their feet. But, I am glad to be aware of Abba Claims – a group that works passionately to help everyone who they take on as clients. So, mark them down somewhere just in case. You never know when or if you will need them, but maybe you can recommend them to friends who are struck by this sort of struggle.

So readers, have you ever had to count on an insurance claims company, which did what they said? If so, what was your experience? Was it a good one or a bad one? I’d love to add to the list of solid companies who might be of help when these situations arise.

Thanks in advance for your comments…

Praying Business – Week Thirty-Nine

Praying Business – Week Thirty-Nine

Word was already good for the three of us pray-ers – Liz felt less stressed with the catering in Lubbock business she runs – she shifted around some workers to better suit schedules and she felt less responsibility. Josh successfully fired his Lubbock lawn care and Lubbock holiday lighting client. And I hired two people for my staff who I felt I was led to hire. We practiced praying over Psalm 16 today – “I said to my Lord, you are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” All of got a lot out of it. Josh focused in on the word “Lord” and he said that he often just thought of God as a savior rather than as his master. Liz focused on the phrase, “Apart from you,” and said that there were times that she got so busy with this world that she found herself feeling apart from God. She said that she needed to remedy this. I focused on “good thing” and felt that I have been given so many good things that I needed to be more grateful for everything – even the tough times. Anyway, prayer was great as usual.

As for the larger business gathering, we had a speaker who was in one of the other prayer groups and they actually got into the subject that I had thought of sharing – becoming a business that prayed. The speaker’s name was John and he got into how he had started seeing major improvements in his customer and employee relationships ever since beginning every morning praying for his business. He spoke of how bringing God into the mix only made the “impossible” things feel possible. He also talked about various ways that he had brought prayer into his business. He said that he gave everyone twenty open and clear minutes a day to pray either with others or alone. He said that there were some people on his staff who didn’t believe in God and he just told them to do what they wanted during the time that everyone else prayed. He mentioned that one of those people who didn’t believe at the start and who thus didn’t pray had approached him about learning how to pray. John also said that he had taught groups at work how to pray in different ways. Most people were receptive and they had seen good things happen as a result. It was a really good talk. He encouraged the whole group in the larger gathering to join with the other seven groups who were praying before the big gathering to join the rest of us in prayer. It was a daring move to speak this openly about prayer amongst fellow business people and I congratulated him afterwards for being bold enough to share these things. I told him that he had risked being seen as a religious zealot that would be seen less seriously, but that he had done so well in his presentation that he seemed more sincere than I would have been.

So readers, what do you think about praying at your business? Is there a stigma at your place of work? Have you seen the whole culture of your business change as a result of praying at work? Let me know what you think…

 

It was an overall great time.

Attitude Coaching

Attitude Coaching – Week Thirty-Five

 This week is the thirty-fifth time we have met at this amazing business group – over half a year of time spent with business colleagues who are trying to network and to improve the way they go about their leadership.  Of course I have my inner circle of three – Josh and his Lubbock lawn care business and Liz with her Lubbock catering tilt-a-whirl.  We got together early again today and shared a bit about our weeks and then we took it to prayer.  We have made it a habit to lift up the larger gathering every time we meet because we want to see them flourish from a supernatural side as much as we have.  We also prayed for Stan who had the wreck last week.  All in all it was a nice time in prayer that I felt was beneficial, because I do believe God is listening to us.

The larger gathering did have a speaker who showed up this week – a woman named Claire who is known as an Attitude Coach.  She will speak to us next week as well as this week.  She was teaching us how important it is to establish a culture of good attitudes.  Claire said that this good-attitude shift had to begin with us as business leaders so that it could trickle down to our workers.  Her first recommended shift was that we must not complain about anything.  She said that complaints can kill businesses if it becomes the habit.  She said she has gone into several companies as a change agent and as a consultant and that her visits have all revealed a culture of complaint – leaders whining about how hard it is to manage such lazy workers – workers complaining about their small paychecks and about how things are run so badly.  Claire said that we should hang messages all over our offices about not complaining and about staying positive.  Then she said we should follow that up with a staff meeting about this part of office culture.  Finally, we should not only live out this non-complaining behavior, but we should give out a monthly award to the person who has exhibited the most positive attitude for that time period (include a cash prize with it).  She said all of this would turn workplaces into places where people would want to work and where they want to spend their eight hours per day.

I totally agreed with Claire about this.  I have noticed that it has become like second nature to complain about stuff rather than to see the positive sides of things.   And the worst part is that I am the one who is the number one complainer.  I should know better and I will do better from now on.

Hey readers, what do you think about promoting good attitudes and even rewarding them at the workplace?  Have you ever tried to change the culture of your office in the ways that Claire recommended?  Let me know what you think…


Worry-Free Financial Planning

Worry-Free Financial Planning – Week Thirty-One

In our prayer time this week, Josh reported that his father was continuing to improve and that his landscaping business was on an upsurge. He said that he had put some of the larger gatherings’ teachings into practice and had noticed significant improvements in his relationships with his staff. He did ask for prayer for his right knee. He said that it has been burdening him a lot. Liz asked for general prayers for her Lubbock catering business but said that the leader from the short-term furnished apartments business had asked that we pray for her and her declining health. We took this request happily. I just said I needed prayer so that I could plug in better evaluations for my staff. I had passed out the personality tests to my employees but had not been good at keeping them accountable to take them and give them back to me. This made me aware of my tendency to be lax in following through with the “non-work” parts of my job. Anyway, it was good prayer and we all felt refreshed afterwards.

The larger business gathering was about more personal dealings. Our speaker, who is a certified family financial planner, taught us how to manage our own money and how to stay out of debt. He said that while it may not seem relevant to our business, it made a huge difference. He said that if as owners we were suffering with our personal debt and if we were struggling with our own investments, the worry we have will spill over onto our employees. Makes sense. But, one thing that I realized as this man spoke was that I don’t even have a portfolio of investments to take care of – I pretty much take my check to the bank and keep it there until I need it. This is what I took from the meeting – the need to meet with a financial planner and to see what I needed to do to save long-term and in different ways. I cannot believe nobody has ever talked to me about how to diversify my profits so that my money can increase enough for there to be enough money for retirement. That’s the other piece from the speaker’s presentation – retirement and planning for it. Once again, oops. I’m in no way ready to retire. I keep thinking I will retire when I hit 65 or 70, but now I am wondering if I will have any money to do so. Silly me.

So readers, give me some advice on these subjects. Am I in need of a financial planner? What would you recommend as far as putting money into various funds? Should I try bonds and stocks? Feel free to tell me what to do. I appreciate whatever ideas you have for me. Thanks in advance…

Trusting in Tough Times

Trusting in Tough Times – Week Thirty

As it happens, Josh was back with us for prayer and for the larger gathering. He said that his dad’s condition quickly improved and Josh was told that he could get back to his landscaping and Lubbock holiday lighting business. Josh felt that his dad’s improvement was real and so he came back home to join Liz and me. When we came together, we praised God for this situation. God does still heal, you know. There’s no reason to think that all of our prayers did nothing for Josh’s dad and so we gave God the credit. I think there are some really powerful things happening regarding our prayers. Liz reported that her Lubbock catering business continues to grow and I could say the same for my heating and cooling business. All of us were excited for one another. Today, we practiced something called Lectio Divina, where each of us read the same passages from the Psalms and just listened to see if we heard anything from God via his Word. I had read about this practice after reading a book by Henri Nouwen called The Way of the Heart. This method of prayer asks you to focus on the Bible and to listen for God to open your mind to show you a short phrase or even one word from it to ruminate on. My word was Trust. I know that I trust God quite a bit, but I guessed that there may be some upcoming areas of life that I needed to remember this word. Anyway, we all got something from this use of God’s word and we committed to do it again sometime. I planned on doing it throughout the week in my personal prayer times.

At the larger business gathering, the speaker was a woman named Stephanie (insurance claims adjuster) who told us how to react to tough times in our business. She said that all businesses hit hard times and that it easy for owners to panic, when we should be trusting that things will turn around again (there’s that word Trust again). She also said that we should be the most calm persons on the staff because panic is contagious. She said that if we panic and we let others see it, the other employees might start looking for other job opportunities. The speaker said that we should be calm and take a close look at what areas in the business are weak. She said that some downturns are just natural movements in the business world, but that sometimes there are downturns are caused by weaknesses that we have overlooked because things had been going well. This woman also told us that in the good times, we should always be seeking to bring in preventative measures. She said that reactionary owners who wait for lean times to do anything are in danger at all times. She said it is always best to be checking on all parts of our businesses all the time so we can avoid bad times.

It was a fairly simple talk, but it did strike me. I know that I tend to get lazy in the good times and that I don’t evaluate all parts of my business when things are showing good results. I will do what she said and not only react to tough times with peace and calm, but also do complete evaluations every month to make sure that things are not going to catch me by surprise.

So readers, have you ever panicked during times of struggle in your businesses? And what sort of evaluations do you use to keep things going well? Let me know. Thanks in advance…

Business Experts

Business Experts – Week Twenty-Seven

It was a good week of prayer time before the bigger business meeting. We all came into the time feeling gratefully humble for all that God was giving to us and calling us into. My wife is completely well after that flu from last week. I give credit to God because I have heard that this year’s version of the flu is the sort that can last for weeks and even months. Anyway, I reported that things had gotten better at home since she had started feeling better. Josh reported that he was leaving to see his sick father right after the big business meeting today. He had heard that his father had shown some improvements but that things were pretty much touch and go with his health. Josh also said that his most vital Lubbock lawn care crewmembers met with him and discussed if it was possible to have an incentives package put into place, based on certain metrics or merit. Josh agreed with them and laid out a plan that they were excited about. This allayed Josh’s fears from the week previous. Liz didn’t say much except to say that she had hired an SEO team to bolster her Lubbock catering website. We lifted all of these things up to God and we also waited like ten minutes in silence to let God speak to us if He so desired. All of us came out of the time feeling refreshed.

Today’s larger business gathering was actually just a question and answer session with a panel of business leaders who had yet to join the group just yet. These professionals were from varied fields of work and were also from regional offices – they weren’t based in Lubbock. What set them apart as “experts” was that they had all written critically acclaimed books (or essays for one) about how to lead businesses in the 21st century. So, after they introduced themselves and settled in, people began to ask them various questions about how they started their businesses and how they were pressing them into a wildly shaky marketplace. They mostly spoke not of the present but of the future – like five-year and ten-year futurists do. It was fascinating to see and hear how they viewed the upcoming years, especially from globalist viewpoints. They talked about how we all needed to pay close attention to the national political climate so that we didn’t get left behind. They also reported on some new technologies that were coming down the pipe soon enough that we should be ready to implement them into our various businesses.

(Sorry to be so unspecific, but I don’t think I could recount the exact things they brought up – they were leaps and bounds beyond my knowledge base.) Anyway, I made sure to take down their names so I could buy their writings and see if I could make heads or tails of it all.

How about you readers? Do you ever look ahead to future dealings in the marketplace or are you like me and deal in the one day at a time? I bet it would be a fascinating thing to project for the future and try to be ahead of the curve.

Passion for Work – New Business Group started

Passion for Work – New Business Group started

Okay, since I believe that you can really gain a lot of knowledge from people in other businesses, I have started this “company owners” group that will hopefully gain traction over the next few weeks and benefit everyone involved. (By the way, I am the head of a Lubbock Pre-K through 12th grade Christian school that happens to be burgeoning – just thought you might want to know.) I have decided that for the first several weeks that we meet at Starbucks on 98th and Slide, we will allow members of this group to talk about/introduce themselves and their businesses before we start sharing about what we have learned about business in general.

The first week we had a surprising group of fifteen people – shocking to me since I only did word of mouth about the existence of this group. Anyway, it was a mix of male and female business owners. After explaining how this group was going to go, I asked for a volunteer to go first and to briefly explain what their business was all about. One hand of a guy shot up and I could tell he was fired up to be among like-minded individuals. Anyway, this man was a Texas Public Adjuster and he handled all sorts of insurance claims. It wasn’t this fact that is as important as the passion with which this man talked about his business that handled fire damage claims and water damage claims. He made sure that we all knew he was excited about giving his clients the absolute best claims available. He said that he was not going to let any of his clients be cheated from what they deserved. As he talked, his voice grew louder and louder until it seemed he was almost yelling. I didn’t find this annoying because I really felt that this man set the tone for the group – not that everyone had to yell but that everyone might feel like they could be just as passionate without being embarrassed about it.

Anyway, since this guy had shared so much about his company business, we didn’t have time to get to any other introductions for the day. But, as we ended our official time together, most of the fifteen people stayed around and met one another, which I thought was cool. It’s always good to see networking live.

Okay readers, I am interested: Do you have passion for your work? How do you show it? Do you workers have passion for their work? Just interested in how you show your passion and how you generate it amongst your staff. Comment away…

Choosing the Right Catering for your Business Retreat

Choosing the Right Catering for your Business Retreat

It’s always good to take a retreat with your employees so you can re-focus everyone on the mission and vision of the company. If you are planning such a business retreat, there are of course the lessons you want everyone to get a hold of – strategies, goals, etc. Those are a given. But if you want to make your business retreat a success, I suggest that you choose the right sort of catering to feed your employees so that their bellies are happy while your leadership teams teach. To get the right kind of catering there are a few things I want to suggest you doing:

  1. Choose three highly rated catering companies and do your own research – Call each of them up and find out what food options are available. Also ask them how much food they suggest for the number of employees you have coming. Also, you will need to know if these places offer vegan menus and options for those with special diets. Finally, ask them how much they charge for the food you will need.

When you decide on the top three companies, move to the next step.

2.  Send out a memo to all of your staff listing the top three catering companies and have them “vote” on the one that sounds best to them. Nothing wrong with putting some democracy on the table. Make sure to include the research you have done in the previous step. Then go with the catering company that the majority of them choose. Not everyone is going to be happy, but you cannot please everyone.

3.  Call the chosen catering company and hire them for your retreat – simple step – do ask them what kind of set up they need to serve the meals (they might not deliver – they may instead send all of the food with you. Be ready for this, especially if your retreat is going to be held out of town.)

4.  Feed your employees at regular meal times and provide snacks so that they don’t get hungry during the meeting times. Hungry employees tend not to listen as closely if their stomachs are growling.

In my experience, I sought out the best Lubbock catering options. After researching them, I found the top three. When I sent these options out to my staff, they almost unanimously chose my favorite Lubbock catering restaurant (Chick-fil-A). The staff retreat went great and everyone said they would be happy if we just went with this catering in Lubbock option every time. This makes it easy for me.

So, that’s my best advice when it comes to finding the best eats for your employees. I hope your retreats go amazing. Send me your catering experiences if you don’t mind – I’ll gladly add your comments to my next blog.

Fire Damage Insurance Claims

Fire Damage Insurance Claims

Finding Insurance Claims Adjusters can be a hassle – especially one that does fire damage insurance claims. There was a time when my nephew was shooting off fireworks in the back yard and it caught the side of my house on fire. No one noticed that a fire had broken out because he and his friends thought they had covered their tracks. Unfortunately one of the sparks from the fireworks had landed on the corner of the roof. This led to a larger fire that took out about half of the outside of the house. As well, the inside of the house was filled with smoke and that caused the furniture to be totally ruined. It was a huge mess and forced my family to live in a hotel for two months while a claim could be made and money could be provided by the insurance company. It was a big issue and one that didn’t seem like it was ever going to come to a good end. But, at the recommendation of a friend, we bypassed the problems of finding a professional insurance claim adjuster.

Have you ever had fire damage or water damage that needed to be covered by insurance? Did you get enough money back to rebuild what needed to be rebuilt? Were you able to move back into a new and improved house?

Whether or not you have had to deal with this kind of thing yet, I want to recommend a company that rocked the world for us as we tried to rebuild our lives. You never know – you might need an insurance claim adjuster sooner than later. And trying to find a Texas public adjuster can take a lot of time that you don’t need to spend. The company we used was called Abba Claims (www.abbaclaims.com) and they were not nonchalant about our claim. They took our loss as a personal one and worked as hard as they could to get us the maximum amount of money. As a result we were able to not only get our house back to normal, but we were able to fix up the interior with new furniture, etc. And the people at Abba Claims made sure we felt covered for the entire process. They did most of the hard work and we will be eternally grateful for their hard work. Without them, we might have ended up with only a half of what we needed and that would have crushed us.

I know a family who had a similar fire issue and they went with a company that promised them the world, but ended up giving them the run around. Don’t let this happen to you.

 

That’s my story. I hope you never have to deal with such a situation, but if you do then please trust me about Abba Claims. They are the best at this stuff.

Staff Meeting Success

Staff Meeting Success

Our pre-meeting prayer time went well though all of us admitted we needed to stay focused on what we are coming together for. This week we joked around a lot at first and didn’t start praying until fifteen minutes until the big meeting. We know how easy it is to lose focus and this is not the time to lose focus. We decided to catch up by staying fifteen minutes after the big meeting to catch up on what we missed – not to be legalistic about it all, but to make sure we cover each other and not let our enemy steal from us. Lubbock catering, lawn care and my AC/Heating business will not thrive unless God is in the midst. We were all sure of that.  (By the way, Josh asked that we cover him during the next few months as his Lubbock lawn care business shifted into Lubbock holiday lighting.  Seems like his company does everything.)

As far as the big meeting, we had a guest speaker who came from Dallas to address us. He was a big executive at a hospital there and he wanted to talk about how we can talk about problem areas in staff meetings, but unless we actually monitor the areas where there have been reported problems we won’t get very far. He said that early in his leadership career, many people had told him that one of the nurse’s stations on one of the busiest floors was a real mess. On that floor and at that station specifically, nurses were cursing loudly, not paying attention to call lights, bullying other nurses and saying things that could be sexual harassment, etc. As the leader for that floor and five others, he called a meeting to talk in general about these things. The staff meeting had all of the nurses from all of the floors in it and this man warned them all about not doing these sorts of things. After the meeting, he felt good about the warnings he had given and he had a satisfaction that there would be no more of this unprofessionalism. But he said that he never actually made a trip to see how that one station was functioning – had they listened? Were they acting properly? He didn’t know because he thought that his talk was good enough to make change. In two weeks time, he started hearing rumors that this nurse’s station was doing the same bad things that they had been doing. So, he decided that talk was cheap – he couldn’t just call staff meetings and hope. He had to call staff meetings and then go. He decided to visit that station every day at different times and to observe it from a distance. What did he see? He saw exactly what had been reported to him. After a few days of this observation and specific documentation, he approached the so-called leaders of this station and explained to them that they were the floor workers that the staff meeting had been called about. He showed them his notes from the past few days and demanded that they not only write up several nurses but to warn them that he and others would be watching closely to see if some firings needed to take place. Long story short, this executive ended up having to fire several nurses who refused to change their behavior and this floor became one of the best in the hospital. Basic message to us: Don’t just reprimand problem workers with a general slap on the wrist. Do your own homework about what is going on with employees and do whatever you have to do to make sure that your teams run professionally.

What do you readers think about this? Ever been in a similar situation where you have had business leadership talk a lot about needed changes, but never making them? Ever felt trapped in a job where your fellow workers were doing wrong and making you feel more than uncomfortable? Did you report them? Was anything done?

I know for me that I need to go and see how my small teams of employees were acting while on actual jobs. I think I know they are doing well, but I have had complaints and I never did much to monitor the problems. I won’t just talk anymore. I’ll go Undercover Boss and get rid of problem workers if need be.