Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

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    Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

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Posts Tagged ‘Leadership/Personal Development’

Leadership, Life, & Liberty

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 20, 2012

When I was 26 years old, I joined community building for one of the strangest of reasons – to get my baseball cards back. Although inexplicable to me, since I typically didn’t join anything, I realize now that God was opening up the door to my destiny. Through community building, my leadership inabilities were quickly revealed, forcing me to undergo nearly 12 years of intensive hands-on experience before finally mastering the fundamentals of leadership. The culmination of this leadership journey occurred on a private-island retreat when Chris Brady and I began a long conversation on the principles of leadership that led to our #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller Launching a Leadership Revolution.

With this initial success, my perspective changed from leadership success to life success. I started studying the principles of holistic success in a purpose-filled life, rather than just effective professional leadership. Eventually, this led me to write RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, which shares my personal philosophies on living a life that matters. In truth, without the leadership principles learned and applied that led to my personal freedom from a 9-to-5 job, I would never have found the time to invest in the reading of thousands of books needed to write RESOLVED. Professional leadership success, in other words, allowed me the free time to learn, apply, and share the 13 resolutions.  God’s blessings in one area ought to be used as blessings to others when possible. In this case, my leadership blessing led to the free time needed to capture and share the resolutions for enhancing people’s lives.

While writing RESOLVED, however, I realized that without liberty, a resolved leadership life is nearly impossible. For what good is a road map to success if a person isn’t free to drive? This led me to my third great quest for knowledge and understanding, seeking the principles underlying spiritual, economic, and political liberty. Many questions have been asked and answered during this quest. Who were the greatest “apostles of liberty” in the history of mankind? What did they teach and why? What can we learn from these men and women today? Why is liberty so important? If any of these questions are of concern to you, then stay tuned to this blog as we discuss the story of liberty and its importance in today’s society.

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Faith, Finances, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Leaders are LIFE-Time Learners

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 20, 2012

Every leader must be a learner. Why? Because no leader has all the answers. Therefore, a leader must constantly be learning to improve and grow. In fact, if a person refuses to learn, he has effectively limited his ability to lead. This is the reason hunger is so essential for leadership because only a hungry person will keep striving to learn more.

Are you a hungry leader? Are you humble enough to know that you don’t know everything? Are you willing to read, listen, and associate with other leaders in a community in order to improve yourself? The LIFE community is what makes LIFE’s leadership better than any other leadership company. LIFE’s leadership materials supply people with topnotch leadership teachings, but even more importantly, it’s the LIFE community that provides the environment in which to apply the leadership principles daily.

LIFE, by having a compensated community, has a competitive advantage on the rest of the leadership companies. Here is a short video describing the importance of learning for leaders. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Communities, Tribes, & Leadership

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 1, 2012

In my opinion, voluntary community groups (tribes) are one of the keys to restoring the health of Western Civilization.  Although there are more communication tools today than ever before  (phone calls, texting, email, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Skype, etc), there seems to be less real dialogue and fellowship. Community is an essential piece in recreating the bonds of belonging within our isolated world. Imagine marrying the best of community with the best in leadership and you have the LIFE model. Our goal isn’t just to build a successful business; instead, our primary objective is to restore our despairing, damaged, and divided civilization.

When a person builds a community group, sharing the principles of leadership for personal and professional development, he or she contributes to the restoring of local communities. Jon Tyson, a pastor and blogger, described the restorative qualities of community in his fantastic article of which a portion is posted below. Read and ponder the part the LIFE business and TEAM can play in making a difference. Remember, our three rules our Have Fun, Make Money, and Make a Difference. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Renewing Cities Through Missional Tribes
by Jon Tyson

I first met Anna when she came to our apartment for a church group. An actress, waitress, and recovering alcoholic, she was desperate to find her place in the city. She came back week after week to sit through our Bible study and worship time. When I asked her why she bothered to return, it was as if she struggled to articulate the motive in her heart. Eventually she responded with, “I guess I was hoping to find somewhere to belong.” Hundreds of miles from her family, pursuing her second or third “life dream,” she articulated the sense of angst that in many ways defines this generation: “I’m just pretty lonely and struggle to find people I can trust.” Interestingly enough, Anna was not a Christian, not even close, yet was willing to endure the “Jesus time” to simply be around people who seemed vaguely interested in her life.

I have heard versions of this story dozens of times. From Wall Street traders to advertising executives, from nannies to MTV producers, it seems that in some fundamental way we are incurably communal. What’s ironic is that all of these people are living in New York City, surrounded by millions of people, yet feeling incredibly alone.

Though they may feel like it, these people are not alone. This loss of community has in some ways become our collective experience of American life. This relational disconnection was first identified and popularized in the year 2000 in Robert Putnam’s work Bowling Alone.1 Simply put, he proposed that America was losing its sense of community, or its social capital — the reality that we are a part of “the whole,” and that we participate in small but significant ways to the greater good. He noticed “that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often.”2 Putnam went on to suggest that changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women’s roles, and other factors have contributed to this decline.

If Putnam is right, this loss of connection poses both opportunities and challenges for the church at large. A loss of cultural connection strikes at the heart of our faith: it hinders our ability to share the gospel in organic, relational ways and makes it difficult to know and serve our neighbors. Conversely, it creates a desire for a loving, accepting community to those who are disillusioned, disconnected, and alone. So, how can the church position itself to be a community of love in this emerging culture of disconnection, and will our popular small group programs really be enough to engage this decline? Moreover, are there other trends that we have overlooked that could offer us some clues as to how the church could function as a catalyst for authentic community that is also missional? I believe there are.

SOCIAL CAPITAL
First, let’s consider the purported loss of social capital in society. Our social ties have value like any other kind of capital — financial, human, or physical — and those connections that we take for granted create a kind of relational wealth that we are not always aware of. Within the overlapping networks in our lives, we both find and contribute to a richness of community value. Thus, social capital is a trust that arises from our community of relationships that enables us to help others in mutually beneficial ways. Put another way, social capital acts as both sociological superglue to keep us connected and sociological WD-40 to facilitate interaction.

With this in mind, Putnam defines social capital as:
…those tangible substances [that] count for most in the daily lives of people: namely good will, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse among the individuals and families who make up a social unit…The individual is helpless socially, if left to himself…If he comes into contact with his neighbor, and they with other neighbors, there will be an accumulation of social capital, which may immediately satisfy his social needs and which may bear a social potentiality sufficient to improvement of living conditions in the whole community.3

So where does social capital come from? Social capital is the overflow effect of three things in our lives.

1. Our networks. These are the people that we are connected to in the overlapping segments of our lives. This could be the parents from a child’s soccer team, our neighbors, a study group or local book club, or people from a class we are currently taking. 


2. Our norms. This is the flow and rhythm of our lives, our habits and social reflexes, our patterns, behaviors, and daily interactions: where we shop, what we do with our leisure time, our schools, places of employment, and the maps we subconsciously follow that we have created over time. This could best be described as “our way of life.” 


3. Our values. These are the things that matter to us, what we fight for, organize around, give to, get involved with, and care about.
When these three things overlap in the right degree, a new element is released into the fabric of these interactions called social capital. This is a shared sense of trust and a desire to help one another. This in turn lets us be a part of a newly established “us,” which creates a new sense of belonging. This is what gives us that sense of community, safety, and place, and what makes our lives so rich.

We all know what it feels like to chat with a neighbor in an elevator and catch up on local gossip, or go to a local coffee shop to sit in “our seat.” All of us have sensed social capital being released when bumping into someone at the store or finding out you share something in common with those at school. It’s these interactions, these “me too” moments that work as small deposits and contact points, which over time accumulate and increase our sociological wealth.

When these interactions disappear from our lives, there doesn’t seem to be a difference at first, as in a next-door neighbor moving away, or dropping out of a club or team, but if this continues, the cumulative effect over time creates a real sense of loss. If all the neighbors you know move away, and the local shops you frequent are replaced by chain stores, and your neighbors are replaced by others with vastly different values, then the loss of capital is really felt. Your networks have disbanded, your normal flow of life is disrupted, and there are few around you that share your values.

Putnam’s observations are most visible today through a discernible loss of participation in official, organized communities. People change employers and residences at an alarming rate, and don’t seem to make the same connections they used to. With longer work hours, demanding schedules, and long hours spent commuting, our collective sense of community is dissolving — not completely, but substantially. Without the sociological glue and WD-40 we need, this loss of social capital could do real damage to our lives.

In order to restore this cultural capital and community to our world, Putnam suggests that we need to help integrate people’s lives back into the official social structures of the culture. These social structures form a sort of frame around which culture is built, and around which we can rebuild our communities. This solution is noble and thoughtful; asking people to shorten their commutes to work, watch less TV, carpool, join groups in their workplaces, or re-up for civic institutions are all solid starting points. But is this enough?

For example, Putnam states, “Let us find ways to ensure that by 2010 the level of civic engagement among Americans then coming of age in all parts of our society will match that of their grandparents when they were that same age, and that at the same time bridging social capital will be substantially greater than it was in their grandparents’ era.”4 This is commendable. However, society seems to have fragmented such that even the ideas and institutions that we are called back to are fundamentally characterized by individualism — so much so that participating in them often feels like engaging with social cannibals, rather than other contributors. We have all had experiences that were intended to create community, which ended up leaving us feeling exhausted and drained, instead of refreshed.

Another problem is that we have no allegiance to a civic whole, no metanarrative, or any real connection with our grandparents. We don’t know how they lived or have any real understanding of their times and challenges. Many of us simply have no models to work from, guides to follow, or vision to move toward. We cannot go back to a way of life we are so thoroughly removed from.

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Leaders Break the Cycle of Learned Helplessness

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 9, 2012

Here is a portion of the Adversity Quotient Resolution chapter from my new book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE.  Learned Helplessness, by definition, is a learned behavior; therefore, it can also be an unlearned behavior. This is exactly what leaders do for other people, helping them unlearn poor attitudes, expectations, and thoughts. Let’s make 2012 the year you breakthrough, leaving learned helplessness and mediocrity behind! Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

One such compromise was discovered Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, in 1965, when he stumbled across what the American Psychological Association has called the Landmark Theory of the Century – Learned Helplessness. Learned Helplessness is a belief that what a person does cannot alter his outcomes, that somehow life’s cards are stacked against him. Seligman’s studies created a revolution in the psychology field, displacing Skinner’s hopeless behaviorism (Stimulus controls response). In Pavlov’s original study, where he rang the bell and provided food, showing that dogs would salivate after ringing the bell, seemed to prove that humans only responded to the stimulus provided. From this experiment, Pavlov, and later Skinner, concluded that man lived by learned behaviors only, leaving no room for thinking, responsibility, changing, and therefore, no room for destiny. But Seligman’s experiments altered the field forever with the hopeful cognitive psychology revolution (thinking determines behavior). His experiments revealed, in other words, that what we do matters.

Seligman tested three groups of dogs on Pavlov’s foundation, but with a key variation in the stimulus. Group A dogs were harnessed individually, hearing a bell tone and receiving a harmless electric shock afterwards. Group A dogs could stop the shock by pressing a bar with their nose, which they quickly learned to do. Group B dogs, on the other hand, heard the bell tone and received the shock, but had no ability to stop the electric shocks.  Lastly, Group C received no shocks at all, merely heard the bell tone. The breakthrough occurred on the second day of testing when each of the dogs from the previous day were randomly placed into a shuttle box; a box with a low barrier down the middle.  One at a time the dogs were place in the shuttle box.  Each dog heard the bell tone and received the shock, but the different responses of the three groups initiated the cognitive revolution. Both Groups A and C quickly jumped the middle barrier, eliminating the discomfort of the electric shock. But Group B, contrary to expectations, did not attempt to jump over the barrier, instead the dogs merely crouched down and whimpered. Stoltz describes the breakthrough theory, “What Seligman and others discovered is that these dogs had learned to be helpless, a behavior that virtually destroyed their motivation to act. Scientist have discovered that cats, fish, dogs, rats, cockroaches, mice, and people all are capable of acquiring this trait. Learned helplessness is simply internalizing the belief that what you do does not matter, sapping one’s sense of control.” When a person believes that he cannot change his situation, he won’t even try, becoming hopeless because he believes he is helpless. On the other hand, people can change nearly anything with the right knowledge applied consistently and persistently. Learned helplessness, because it destroys this hope for change, must be exposed for the lie that it is, teaching one’s self and others that change is possible only when a person believes that he can change. Indeed, leaders must rid themselves and their teams from Learned Helplessness as its acid is fatal to all personal growth.

Another compromise that leads to failure and despair is an improper response to the pain inherent in the process of growth.  There are actually two types of pain: one comes from the inside due to the change process; the other comes from the outside due to criticism from those unwilling to make the same changes. Hope is the only fuel capable of burning through both types of pain.  Without hope, either of the pain versions will trump one’s willingness to endure, instead choosing to stop the pain by quitting the journey.  Author Robert Grudin writes, “One might reply that most people who surrender simply lack the ability to get very far.  But it is more accurate to say that ability and intelligence, rightly understood, include a readiness to face pain, while those characteristics which we loosely term ‘inadequacy’ and ‘ignorance’ are typically associated with the avoidance of pain.” When the pain reaches a certain threshold, everything inside of a person screams for relief, but champions, people with high AQ, persevere. Pain is overcome through the continuous focus on one’s purpose. Moreover, achieving greatness will require a faith that can move mountains, an AQ to endure the rising pain in the process, eventually reaching levels of success that more timid souls refuse to believe possible.

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

Keeping Score in the Game of Life

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 4, 2012

Here is a portion of a talk I gave on keeping score at a LIFE TEAM event. Are you keeping score in the game of Life? Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

The Leadership Search

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 18, 2011

I searched for him half my life,
named with an uncommon sound.

I looked for him around the world,
but this person refused to be found.

Thankfully, I discovered him,
the good news is, you can too.

However, it won’t be easy,
as he reveals himself to just a few.

You can search our government assemblies,
and only hear legends from his past.

You can search our halls of learning,
reading quaint histories fading fast.

You can search our industrial complexes,
viewing his old portraits in the aisles.

You can search our sports arenas,
reading banners going out of style.

Everyone seems to know this person,
but most refuse his name.

I ceased my fruitless search,
hanging my head in shame.

In desperation, I searched within,
realizing his presence all along.

Since no one else will be him,
I can and will, to become strong.

I am now called responsible,
I am the man with the uncommon name.

My friend, you too have this choice,
for you can be called the same.

The search has ended.
The journey is done.

Who is responsible?
I am; You are; Everybody and everyone.

Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development, Orrin Woodward | Tagged: , | 27 Comments »

Claude & Lana Hamilton – LIFE Founders

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 13, 2011

Today’s featured Life Founders are Claude and Lana Hamilton. The Hamilton’s home is one of the largest in their Canadian province, which isn’t shocking to me since they have one of the largest dreams in the province also. Neither Claude nor Lana come from wealth, so how did this young couple achieve so much with so little? Simply put, they joined a leadership community, learned principles that allowed them to rise to their potential, and acted upon it.

Both of them started in the Canadian military. Lana in the Navy and Claude in the Great White North’s equivalent to the Navy Seal program. With little money, no connections, and no plans, the Hamilton’s joined networking where they promptly struggled for years. In fact, the miracle of their first five years in business is that they didn’t quit. With little outward success to show for years of relentless effort, only huge dreamers like the Hamilton’s would have continued to hold out hope. This hope, however, was the key to their future success and was not held onto in vane.

After missing numerous leadership conventions, since they were convened on the other side of Canada and the Hamilton’s had no money, Claude did the unthinkable. With Lana serving at sea, Claude, hungry to learn the proper leadership mindset, hitchhiked across Canada, attending his first-ever conference. This may sound crazy to some, but the Hamilton’s lifestyle today is also crazy. Great achievements come with great sacrifice, period! Indeed, the higher the mountain, the harder the climb. Claude and Lana vowed to climb to the top.

I met Claude when his organization joined forces with TEAM in 2006. He had already accomplished great successes in community building before I met him. In fact, his huge dreams, drive, and determination were evident to me immediately. Later, I would also witness first-hand his character, courage, and convictions. As Claude is a voracious student, we quickly teamed up and his business began to surge ahead even further.

In late 2007, when legal disputes arose with our former supplier, Claude and Lana displayed their true valor. With many choosing to hide out, fearful of drawing attention to themselves and falling into litigation, the Hamilton’s charged to the front, leading their teams to fast growth. Even when the TEAM income and numbers dropped precipitously in 2008, the Hamilton’s never wavered on their core belief in the community’s right to freedom.

In early 2009, the Hamilton’s defining moment arrived. The Hamilton’s were offered peace and an end to all litigation. However, they quickly refused the offer. Why do you ask? Because as part of the settlement offer, Claude and Lana would have to separate permanently from TEAM, choosing peace over their principles. This Faustian bargain was not even considered by the principle-centered couple. They knew that the best opportunity for their team to win involved staying with TEAM, even if it meant increased personal hardships and severed friendships. In other words, they kept themselves in harms way in order to ensure the best opportunity for their community. This type of sacrificial leadership is extremely rare today, making Claude and Lana Hamilton modern-day heroes and admired by all who know their story.

Thankfully, in late 2010, all legal disputes were settled and the TEAM finally was free to pursue its destiny. The Hamilton’s are Founders of LIFE because they are leaders of character who have proven their mettle on the front lines, not hiding out in the foxholes. Anyone can talk about character, but living it when it counts is what matters. Claude and Lana live their principles daily.

On another note, on top of leading one of the fastest growing teams with the TEAM, Claude also volunteered to be the PC leader over the TEAM events department. In this role, he has greatly improved the quality and profitability of the opens, seminars, and major functions. I cannot imagine the TEAM’s turnaround without the endless hours sacrificially invested by Claude for the benefit of us all.

Laurie and I want to personally thank our good friends and LIFE Founders Claude and Lana Hamilton. It’s because you are who you are that makes LIFE what it is and what it’s going to be. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Leadership/Personal Development, Life Training | Tagged: , , , , | 39 Comments »

Ben Franklin – Resolved to Develop Wisdom

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 11, 2011

Here is a segment from my new book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE on Ben Franklin and his application of resolves into his life. The process described is simple, but certainly not easy, since it requires discipline. However, anyone can do it, and everyone should do it. What resolves are you applying into your life? If you aren’t applying any resolutions currently, perhaps as the new year approaches, you should sit down and write out your resolutions for life. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Ben Franklin, as a young man, didn’t always behave in a sensible manner.  In fact, he offended many of the leading citizens of Philadelphia with his self-assumed air of importance.  In Launching a Leadership Revolution, Chris Brady and I share a story on young Franklin, “A confidant took him aside one day and was both bold and kind enough to share the truth with Franklin that people didn’t like him. Although amazingly brilliant, nobody cared. They couldn’t stand to be around him. He was too argumentative and opinionated. His informer even told him that people would see Franklin approaching on the street and cross the road so as to avoid any contact with him. Franklin was devastated. But his reaction to the cold, hard truth was perhaps one of the most important components of his meteoric success.”  At twenty years of age, Franklin chose to move in a new direction, launching a self-improvement project he called “moral perfection.”  Initially, he started with four resolutions: “1. He resolved to become more frugal so that he could save enough money to repay what he owed to others. 2. He decided that he would be very honest and sincere ‘in every word and action.’ 3. He promised himself to be industrious ‘to whatever business I take in hand.’ 4. He vowed ‘to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a manner of truth’ and to ‘speak all the good I know of everybody.’”  From these four, Franklin created his world renown list of 13 virtues (see appendix for complete list), developing a plan to study one per week for the 52 weeks in a year. Here are two of his virtues:

2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling   conversation.
8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

Franklin’s methodical approach to character and wisdom development allowed each virtue to be studied four weeks per year, evaluating his performance weekly against the standard of moral perfection.  In Franklin’s autobiography, he discusses his plan to check his performance compared to the aspired virtues, writing, “I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues. . . I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day.” With time, Franklin’s personal improvement plan helped him become one of the most respected citizens in Philadelphia, routinely requested to serve various volunteer organizations. Walter Isaacson, in Time magazine, describes Franklin’s belief that increased personal virtue leads to increased public responsibilities, noting:

That led him to make the link between private virtue and civic virtue and to suspect, based on the meager evidence he could muster about God’s will, that these earthly virtues were linked to heavenly ones as well. As he put it in the motto for the library he founded: “To pour forth benefits for the common good is divine.” It is useful for us to engage anew with Franklin, for in doing so we are grappling with a fundamental issue: How does one live a life that is useful, virtuous, worthy, moral and spiritually meaningful?

By studying a different virtue weekly, over Franklin’s long life, he made great gains. Although he didn’t achieve perfection, Franklin’s growth in wisdom led to him becoming one of the most influential diplomats in history. Indeed, many historians believe Franklin (even more than Washington) was the indispensable man of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, tempering the rhetoric of both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist men. Historian William MacDonald writes, “Franklin’s voice was always in favor of the more generous provision, the ampler liberty; was always earnestly opposed to whatever might tend to make governmental oppression at some future time possible. . . Some of his finest utterances were in maintenance of that plea; and it is a symptom of the noble feeling with which Franklin was regarded by the noblest men, that Hamilton would give his support to Franklin’s recommendations, though they were essentially moral criticisms of the policy which he himself thought best for the country.”  Franklin’s principle centered diplomacy led to influence, not just of like-minded people, but even with his political opponents, a true testament to his character and honor.

Posted in Finances, Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Rob Hallstrand – LIFE Founder

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 5, 2011

Today, I would like to start a series on each of the LIFE Founders. The first on my list is the CEO of LIFE, Rob Hallstrand. His story is a beautiful example of learning through the dreams, struggles, and victories in life.

I have known Rob since 1995, when he joined Chris Brady in our first community building business. When the TEAM took off in 1999, it was only natural to look for someone with his skill sets – accounting, character, work ethic, etc – to lead the TEAM. Rob led the office through our first wave of stellar growth, taking TEAM from a home business to a national leadership organization.

His leadership victory helped many people. However, what I am going to share next, is the reason Rob is one of the LIFE Founders.

It’s less in your victories that character is revealed and more in your failures. In 2004, the organization grew faster than Rob’s ability to lead it effectively. One of the most painful days of my life was having to sit down with Rob and explain that I was moving another leader in as CEO of TEAM, bumping him back to CFO – Chief Financial Officer.

In truth, few people would have handled a transition like this with the honor, dignity, and class Rob did. For not only did he do a first class job on the accounting side, but he also worked admirably with the new group of leaders running the TEAM office. Rob’s personal growth in this period was amazing. He started a personal development program through reading books, listening to CDs, and confronting areas of weakness in order to improve his leadership skills. He revolutionized his leadership capacity and the entire TEAM went through another growth surge, thanks to all the leaders of TEAM, both in the office and field.

With the TEAM’s continued growth, many other leaders within our old networking company requested to join TEAM. In retrospect, I should have gone slower in adding groups because I have learned how valuable the culture is to a company. Nonetheless, the TEAM plowed ahead, merging several organizations into TEAM which maxed leadership lids for many at the TEAM office.

Disaster struck in late 2007. I have studied the data from the years 2006-2009 extensively, seeking to learn the invaluable leadership lessons that failure teaches. In other words, don’t run from failures; learn from them. And boy, did I ever learn a ton.

There are probably only a handful of leaders in the country that could have handled the ridiculous leadership challenge (lawsuits, leaving our former company, etc) that hit the TEAM late 2007 through 2009, so I am thankful for everyone’s efforts to handle the task. However, when in 2009 the office cost-per-field-revenue was five times higher than previous benchmarks, I realized I needed to act fast or the TEAM would capsize. Many of our field leaders had lost 2/3’s of their income and as the leader of TEAM, both the office and the field, it was ultimately my responsibility to fix it.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I sat down with the Policy Council (PC) leaders and asked for each of them to pick an area at the office to help transform. I tapped Rob Hallstrand on the shoulder and asked him to take over the TEAM office as COO – Chief Operating Officer. I knew this was a “bet the company” move. Either the TEAM turned around its cost-to-revenue margins or the company would bankrupt itself.

The first thing Rob did was take the TEAM staff from 40 employees down to 20. I am sure this brought hardship to many former employees, but when the ship is sinking, dropping off 20 passengers to shore as quickly as possible was the only humane choice. Without drastic reductions, everyone in the TEAM office and field would have been out of business.

I am happy to report that our “bet the company” move was a success. In fact, this year the TEAM hit its all-time best monthly operating margin. This placed us in a position to launch LIFE. The TEAM has more than doubled its profits without increasing office expenses – a nearly impossible feat! Rob Hallstrand worked tirelessly with all the PC in each area at the office to streamline systems and cost. Someday I hope to write the book on this amazing leadership turnaround engineered by Rob Hallstrand and the PC. I am very proud of them all.

Along with surpassing every major benchmark in 2011, Rob also took the lead in launching LIFE. How he accomplished this task with only one additional employee is a true testament to Rob’s new leadership capacity. LIFE is going to be life-changing for so many, and it all goes back to the day when Rob Hallstrand confronted a temporary failure in his life. Instead of getting bitter, Rob chose to get better, thus growing into the leader necessary to run the LIFE business as its new CEO.

Congratulations Rob for a job well done and here is to a great future together! Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Posted in Freedom/Liberty, Leadership/Personal Development | Tagged: , , | 30 Comments »

Jonathan Edwards – Resolved to Serve with Humility

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 4, 2011

Here is the section from my new book on Jonathan Edwards. Here is another great American who utilized the power of resolutions in his life. Have you implemented RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE into your life? Let’s start a resolution revolution together. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

Jonathan Edwards was a preacher, theologian, a missionary to Native Americans, and shortly before his death, accepted the Presidency of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University).  Edwards “is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important and original philosophical theologian.” Furthermore, Author George Marsden, writes, “Edwards was extraordinary. By many estimates, he was the most acute early American philosopher and the most brilliant of all American theologians. At least three of his many works – Religious Affections, Freedom of the Will, and The Nature of True Virtue – stand as masterpieces in the larger history of Christian literature.”

But Edwards began his ministry with little advanced billing. His first pastoral position in 1722, at 19 years of age, was far away from his Connecticut hometown, in New York City, then a thriving metropolis of 10,000 people.  Dr. Stephen Nichols, author of The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards, writes of the young pastor, “Amidst all of this uncertainty and flux, this young man, Jonathan Edwards, needed both a place to stand and a compass for some direction. So he took to writing. He kept a diary and he penned some guidelines, which he came to call his ‘Resolutions.’ These resolutions would supply both that place for him to stand and a compass to guide him as he made his way.”  A.C. McGiffert described Edward’s method of resolutions, “Deliberately he set about to temper his character into steel.”  Tempering is a process to “toughen” the metals, just as written resolutions “toughen” the internal person through study and course corrections.  The tempering process takes time, but the internal fortitude and self-mastery gained living one’s convictions, not one’s preferences, is worth any price.

Jonathan Edwards dutifully wrote out 70 Resolutions (see appendix) between 1722 and 1723. Edwards committed to read the 70 Resolutions once per week for the rest of his life, and fulfilled that commitment, reading the resolutions more than 1,800 times over the next 35 years. Here are two of his resolutions.

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this resolution.

Edwards would have many occasions to apply his resolutions. After his pastoral service in New York, on February 15, 1727, Edwards joined his father-in-law, Solomon Stoddard’s congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts.  In 1729, Stoddard died, leaving Edwards the sole minister in charge of one of the largest, wealthiest and proudest congregations in the colony.  Stoddard, in his later years, had introduced several doctrinal changes not founded upon scriptures. Edwards, being new, continued the innovations when he assumed pastoral leadership.  But, in 1749, after years of successful ministry and intensive biblical study, Edward’s conscience balked at the doctrinal errors, precipitating an angry response from church members. The controversy concluded with Edward’s dismissal by the margin of one vote. Many would have railed against the injustice, but Edwards, dignified as always, preached his farewell sermon with the truth, love and grace, exiting Northampton without rancor or bitterness.

Edwards was, as Randall Stewart wrote, “Not only the greatest of all American theologians and philosophers but the greatest of our pre-19th century writers as well,” making his gracious humble spirit even more impressive.  He didn’t fight for his rights; instead he merely accepted the ruling as God’s Will, taking a position as missionary to the frontier Indians. Edwards consistently displayed a grace-filled spirit of forgiveness to his many detractors, some who, years later apologized for their involvement in the misinformation spread. Can one imagine the infamy of being associated with the congregation that dismissed one of the best theologians and philosophers in American history? But Edwards, in his final years, never missed a beat, writing several classics of Christian literature, leaving an enduring testament to the power of character-based resolutions to transform a person from the inside out. Edwards faithfully lived his principles externally because that is who he had become internally. Specifically, he didn’t just give lip service to his resolutions, he truly lived them.

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