Everyday Lean: Sunday School Edition
I’ve been a Sunday School teacher for high school aged kids for about six years. Initially I taught a class for Freshmen and Sophomores. When I first began teaching I was struck by how quiet the kids were in class. These kids were very vocal and lively during the gathering time, and the boys in particular had been lively as Jr High kids – even in class.
Initially I couldn’t figure out why this was. This happened during the same period of time I was becoming Lean Black Belt certified. In that training I was learning about silent brainstorming techniques, and the benefits of using them. And then one day it hit me: High school freshmen are like company new hires.… Read the rest
Everyday Lean: Getting Buy-In
When I was Cubmaster of Pack 404 we decided to get new t-shirts made. Older Scouts (about two dozen) in the unit had a previously designed shirt, but our newer Scouts (more than forty) didn’t have one. This gave us the opportunity for change. And change always brings risk.
A t-shirt may seem trivial, but it ends up being a large part of a pack’s identity. The last thing we wanted to have was a scenario where parents had a negative reactions each time they saw their Scout in the pack t-shirt.
So, how do you prevent this potentially negative reaction? You get buy-in from those involved in the change. How do you get buy-in? You ensure everyone’s voices are heard.… Read the rest
Everyday Lean: Cub Scout Kaizen
This was originally a LinkedIn article that I wrote back in June 2018.
I’m the new Cubmaster for my son’s Cub Scout Pack. The pack has had a bit of a bumpy year, with a bit of leader churn, and Hurricane Harvey impacted both our annual fundraising and recruitment. To help construct a better next year, I decided to implement some Lean principles into our annual planning process.
The first thing I did was obtain the “Voice of the Customer” via some anonymous comment cards at a pack meeting. I used a modified SWOT analysis for parents, asking them to tell us what they thought were the pack’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities (for new activities and recruitment), and why we hadn’t had stronger participation at our District and Council events.… Read the rest
The Beatitudes: The First Nations Translation
I shared this Scripture reading of Matthew 5:1-11 during a recent Scouting interfaith worship service. As a preface I spoke about how colonialism resulted in the decimation of indigenous traditions, languages and beliefs; and that most every major translation of the Bible is based on a Western worldview.
The “First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament” shows how a religious belief can be shared and embraced without stomping out existing traditions, languages and understanding. In the same manner we shouldn’t take Scouting into new communities to “make them like us”. Our purpose should be to use the Scouting values and programming to make people the best versions of themselves.
First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament
1-2 When Creator Sets Free (Jesus) saw this great crowd, he went back up into the mountainside and sat down to teach the people.… Read the rest
Friendly, Courteous & Kind?
I shared this “sermon” as the inspirational message during a Scouting interfaith worship service. The service was part of an adult leader training called Wood Badge that I recently attended. It was delivered to an almost entirely white audience and was intended to show how work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion align with the Scout Law – and intended to challenge them to actively engage in Scouting DEI work.
I’ve often wondered about the twelve words chosen for the Scout Law – particularly words like Friendly, Courteous and Kind, which seem to be synonyms.
Are they redundant? Are they interconnected? Has our modern English lost some nuance originally found in the words 100 years ago?
I couldn’t find an online dictionary with definitions from a century years ago. … Read the rest
My Favorite Book That I Had Never Read
I’d like to tell you about my favorite book that I had never read.
I grew up in a small Texas town. One of the few things to do there was go to the local library. I remember going with my mother when I was young and walking up and down the aisles in the “adult” section looking at the books that were beyond my comprehension.
I would wander the fiction section looking at the covers of sci-if and fantasy novels. One of my favorite books to pull off the shelf and stare at was Dune*. I remember going week after week to the library and gravitating directly to that particular shelf and pulling out that book to stare at its cover.… Read the rest
Bring the Funk: Five Life Lessons from Bootsy Collins
You might not guess looking at me, but my favorite genre of music is funk. My favorite musical artist (by a longshot) is Prince*, but my favorite genre is funk. There’s just something about a funky groove, with a deep pocket, then gets your head bobbing.
Fans of funk also recognize that funk is a state of mind, and that there are life lessons to be found in the lyrics, the music, and the musicians. One elder statesman of funk, Bootsy Collins, stands out with his insight and wisdom on music and life.
Bootsy first gained notoriety as the bass player for James Brown’s backing band “The J.B.’s”. He later joined foundational funk pioneers Parliament-Funkadelic, and led his own P-Funk side project, Bootsy’s Rubber Band.… Read the rest