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The New Business Professional

Sacred Rhythms

by Tiffany Crosby on 02/10/18

The top priority of a Christian business leader is soul care. Leaders need to "be" before they can truly "do" what God has called them to do within the marketplace. From Petra's official beginning in 2011, God has been working on who I am even more than what Petra does. The time I spend conversing with God is what qualifies me to lead in the marketplace. It's not title, or education, or experience that qualifies me to lead. Those things may qualify me to perform particular services -- you don't want just anyone coaching you or designing and leading training courses. But leadership is not about any of the things we "do". It's about the influence we wield. 

 I've spent the last year nurturing my relationship with God. This wasn't about solidifying my identity in Christ, I know who I am and whose I am. This was about soaking in God's word and spending extravagant amounts of time in listening mode. This was about stepping away from the work of the business for a period of time to just be. It was a Sabbath year for me. And it has been incredible. 

My sacred rhythm has become more and more defined as I spent 2-3 hours daily in devotion, worship, prayer, listening, and reading time. Monthly immersions, quarterly conferences, and an annual retreat rounded out my sacred calendar. 

Now, as I delve back into the work of Petra until my next Sabbath year, the challenge for me will be to maintain this sacred calendar regardless of the business opportunities that materialize. I owe it to myself, my family, my community, and all those I serve and lead. And I would challenge you to the same.  If you don't have a sacred calendar, develop one. If you do have one, stick to it. It doesn't need to look like mine -- but you do need it.   

Under A Rest_Break Free To Success

by Tiffany Crosby on 04/08/17

When was the last time:
  • you ate a meal without checking the clock?
  • you spent a whole day enjoying a hobby?
  • you took a vacation and disconnected?
  • you had an unstructured, untimed conversation whose sole purpose was to get to know a person?
If you have to think a long time about those questions, it's been too long and it's hurting your performance. 

I'm not sure how or when but somehow in some way, the word rest has become a taboo word in our western society. We don't speak of it and certainly don't pursue it. Several years ago, I chose to break that pattern. I chose to adopt a lifestyle of rest and break the stereotypes associated with it. And here's what I learned; I am:
  • more productive in my vocation and in my home
  • more creative, more strategic, and a better problem-solver
  • more focused, less cluttered, and calmer
  • more stable financially and less tied to material things
  • a better wife, mother, sister, and friend
The journey to get here was difficult; not because of time or money commitment but because it required a new type of thinking and a breaking of bad habits. I had to adjust my definition of success. I had to let go of business associations and community leadership roles in order to simplify my life. 

It's a process I talk about in my book the Power of Rest, should you have more interest in the topic. But even if not, know that you have the ability to live life from a position of rest, if you're willing to pay the cost. 


A Simple Gut Check Can Save You Millions

by Tiffany Crosby on 10/02/16

We live in a world obsessed with information. We spend countless hours and dollars trying to turn information into useful data upon which we can make sound decisions. In that search for that perfect performance indicator or that magical measure or trend, we can forget to something as simple as a gut check. 

There really are two types of gut checks. 

Unconscious gut check

The first type of gut check is that immediate, visceral response where you just feel like there's something more. I call that the unconscious gut check. You can't necessarily explain it or immediately identify what it is but you just know is not what it seems. In slang terms, we'd say that it just doesn't smell right or sit right with me. I've learned to listen to this unconscious gut check as it has never steered me wrong. The few times I've proceeded despite a gut check, I've regretted it. My Hades Project, as I affectionately call it, arose because I ignored my gut. I persuaded myself because of the company name associated with it. I was still relatively new in business and it would look good on my portfolio listing. I convinced myself to move forward despite my misgivings. Though years have passed, I can still feel myself trying to break out in hives when I think about that project. 

The Conscious Gut Check

Then there's the intentional gut check when you pause for a few minutes to ask:

- This all looks good on the surface but if I pull a string or two does it still make sense?
- Am I too emotionally invested in this to be objective?
- Would I care if my decision was blasted over social media? 

This conscious gut check slows you down so that your critical thinking processes can kick into gear. It's a habit that you have to intentionally cultivate. You have to know yourself well enough to know when you're liking to make a quick, emotional decision and pre-determine that you're going to put the brakes on that decision. 

So how do you cultivate the gut-check habit? 

1) Listen to testimonies of those who have acted in haste. The saying "act in haste, repent in leisure" was coined because it reflects the dire consequences experienced by many who have moved ahead blindly, without stopping to count the cost. Businesses have gone bankrupt because of deals that were executed despite misgivings. Individuals have accept job positions in other states, uprooted their family, and separated from their community despite misgivings. They were attracted by the title and the promises. Only to then find themselves out of work or in a desperate ethical situation at this new company. 

2) Recognize sales tactics for what they are -- pressure to get you to buy (or act) without thinking. Whenever you feel pressured to make a decision so you don't miss that deal that is too good to be true -- stop. Ask yourself, what's the worst that could happen if I don't move forward. Perhaps you decide the purchase makes sense after all -- then move forward and negotiate a deal. Maybe that job is a good position -- then move forward. But, if after thinking about it, you realize that it was the wrong choice -- think of the money or heartache you just saved.

3) Slow down. Just because we live in a twitter-obsessed society, doesn't mean that you have to live at that pace. Take time for prayer. Check out God's Word and see what it has to say. Ask for more information (data) if necessary. Seek out counsel and advice of respected leaders and mentors. Use the resources you have available to do your homework. 

Gut-checks are a gift. They're our friend. Embrace them. Understand their source. Whatever you do, don't discount them, they could save you millions.

Three Reasons You Can't Afford Not To!

by Tiffany Crosby on 05/21/16

I get so tired of hearing non-profit leaders say they can't afford to train their people. Either they don't have the budget for training or they can't afford for their people to take the time away need to train. I sometimes wonder though, if they realize what they're actually saying.  

By saying that you can't afford to train your people, you're actually saying that it's okay:

  • For your people to work inefficiently. Technology changes. Less costly and less time intensive methods of functioning emerge. Often, these new methods also improve the customer experience. By not taking the time to learn these new methods, you're depriving your customers of better service. Can you really afford that in light of your mission?

  • For your people to become stale. Changes in the socioeconomic, business, and legal environment are occurring on a regular basis. How do your people not only stay abreast of them but also determine how best to modify their services in light of them without adequate training? Ultimately, you run the risk of providing services that no longer meet the needs of the community or people you serve because you're working from an outdated frame of reference. Can you really afford that?

  • For your organization to have gaps in succession. Far too many non-profit organizations have a gap in leadership. We're riding on a tidal wave of looming retirements and people haven't been groomed to step into the shoes of those that are vacating. There's only so much poaching that can occur, ultimately the buck has to stop somewhere. Someone is left with a critical gap. Can you really afford to be that organization left with a critical leadership gap? Aren't the people you serve with more than that?
I don't know of any non-profit mission statement that says that they plan to do good for the constituent group they serve by neglecting to invest in their own people. But that's exactly the message that you send when you feel to set aside a portion of your annual budget and calendar for staff training and development. 

The reality is not only can you afford to but you can't afford not to. The people you serve depend on it. You may need to get creative on how you raise the funds necessary to cover staff training costs but your people are worth it. And, there is money available for training if you know where to look. So, put your creative wheels to work and figure out how to make it happen. You won't regret it.

Sustaining Motivation and Drive Over the Longhaul

by Tiffany Crosby on 04/17/16

Burnout is a very real issue whether in a for profit or not-for-profit organization. I see it all the time. People start that new job so much energy and drive. They are gung-ho. They are on fire. They eat, sleep, and breathe the mission and vision. They fully embrace their roles and responsibilities. But somewhere along the way, they fizzle out. 

How do you prevent this from happening to you or your team? I'm going to suggest something completely counter cultural. It may even sound rogue. I'm going to suggest that you step away. That you slow down or even stop to reflect, to organize and to plan. Stepping away forces you to reevaluate your priorities. What's important? What do I value? What's consuming my time? What can I or should I let go of? Stepping away forces you to focus on where you're actually focusing your time. It's your time to think about how your thinking and behaving.

Stepping away is not something you can do once. Stepping away is something you need to make a habit so that you can make better decisions on a regular basis. You don't want to just make good decisions today, but over the course of your life. Stepping away is not just critical for maintaining margin in your life. It's not just important for your health - mental, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual, but it's also necessary for you to have vision, to be productive, and to be able innovate. It's necessary for you to be able to do all the things you need to do to accelerate your performance, and the performance of your team and organization.

If you're experiencing burnout or
If you have no time for anything else on your calendar or
If you have no time for reflecting and planning

Then this is for you. You may not think you can afford to set aside time to reflect and plan, but I'm telling you that you can't afford not too set aside time. So, start small. 

  • Set aside 15 minutes at the end of each day to reflect on the day and prepare for the next day. It takes longer than that to read up on the latest Facebook updates. 

  • After three weeks of daily reflection and planning, add a weekly reflection and planning time. Set aside an uninterrupted hour each week to reflect on the previous week and plan for the upcoming week. Protect this time like you protect the time for anything else that matters to you. And by the way, 1 hour is far less than the time spent watching a football game or other sporting event. It's also less than the time required to watch you're favorite television shows even if you fast forward through the commercials.
  •  After 1 month (i.e., you're about 8 weeks in), add a quarterly reflection and planning time. Plan to set aside a 2-4 hour chunk of time where you can reflect on the previous quarter and upcoming quarter. While this seems like a lot of time, it's really not much different than going to a movie once a quarter.
  • By the end of the year, you'll be ready to do the same for the year.
If you do this, you'll be amazed at how much time you suddenly find to do that which matters. Yes, you'll be forced to delegate some work. And yes, you'll be forced to let go of some commitments. But in the end, you'll find yourself reconnected to the mission and vision and to the passion and energy that fueled you in the beginning. The sacrifice of disciplined focus will be worth it. I promise you.

To read more about establishing a pattern of rest, check out "The Power of Rest". You can purchase this book on