Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Think about it...

September 29, 2010- We recently(yesterday)had an incident at the church that has everyone in a frenzy. Today, however, I was reading a post that I thought was funny and VERY relevant. Here it is...
In 2008, Pixar announced that they were going to be making a movie called “Newt” about the last two blue-toed newts on the planet and their adventure to save the species. The film was referenced at a couple of Pixar events since that initial announcement too. Hard-core Pixar fans were really looking forward to something original coming from Pixar with most of other movies in process at the studios being sequels. (Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and Monsters, Inc. 2 were slated around Newt.) Then, suddenly, in May of this year word leaked out that the entire film had been canceled. No explanation was given but the cancellation was confirmed and the film became the movie that never was.

Surprisingly, today, Pixar put a bunch of pictures of the artwork from the film on their Facebook page. The description on the photo album says “As most of you already know, ‘Newt’ is no longer in development at Pixar. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t share some of the Pixar artists’ amazing artwork with our Facebook fans!” This is a very interesting move. I can’t recall a time when a studio has released something like this on a canceled project, especial so close to the cancellation date.

As leaders, I think there’s a lot we can learn from this whole thing.

1. Not Every Project Makes It
You know it and I know it but it’s good to hear that even a company as successful, creative and prolific as Pixar has to scrub a project every now and then. The truth is that every swing at the bat can’t be a home run and Pixar did the right thing to kill this one project to protect their stellar record if they thought it wasn’t up to par.

When you consider that this film had been “in production” was on the “official schedule” and had been announced in big ways AND the fact that they had to move other films up in production to cover the hole this film was going to leave, it’s easy to understand that this wasn’t an easy decision for them. However, they did the right thing even though it was a hard thing to do.

Folks, sometimes, you’ve just got to rip the band-aid off, kill the project and move on. Refuse to let one project (no matter how much you’ve invested in it or love it) take the whole ship down.

2. Celebrate the Artists
The fact that the movie needed to be canceled didn’t mean that people didn’t word hard on it. I’m sure that folks were pouring themselves into this like any other Pixar endeavor and the fact that Pixar decided to post some of the astounding artwork on their Facebook page acknowledges as much.

Guys, just because you have to kill something doesn’t mean that you can’t spend some effort praising the hard work that people put into it.

3. Reward the Fans
Pixar could have swept this thing under the rug and never acknowledged it again but instead they effectively just said “hey, the film didn’t make it” and they rewarded the fans with a little bit of what did work from the project.

Again, the temptation is to distance ourselves from things that don’t work but I bet someone in your organization might find some value in knowing what you’re trying to do even if it doesn’t pan out. I think the Pixar fans now feel closer to Pixar and have a bit more respect for them because they’ve been so open about this whole thing. Sure, some people are disappointed but the greater lesson is that Pixar cares for and shares things with their hard-core fans. To that end, this was a big win for Pixar and the fans.

Perhaps we should be more open with our committed core folks about what is and isn’t working and allow them to see that we are willing to sacrifice certain projects and programs for the greater good and our most important mission.

You can check out the entire set of amazing photos here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Capsized Chrisianity

Wednesday September 15, 2010- I have been reading a book by Mark Batterson called "Wild Goose Chase". It's an awesome read by a man who has become one of the most prominent voices of our generation. Anyway, in his book Batterson talks about something he calls inverted Christianity. Upon reading this section of the book, it made me think of a mindset that so many Christians have today. He nailed it, but I think a more appropriate labeling would be Capsized Christianity(not because of the literation)but because of the danger of it. His point is, we accepted an invitation to follow Christ, but instead we tend to invite Christ to follow us. Here's a quote from the book.

"If you would describe your relationship with God as anything less than adventurous, then maybe you think you're following the Spirit, but you have settled for something less--something I call inverted Christianity. Instead of following the Spirit, we invite the Spirit to follow us. Instead of serving God's purposes, we want Him to serve ours. And while this may seem like a subtle distinction, it makes an ocean of difference. The result of this inverted relationship with God is not just a self-absorbed spirituality that leaves us feeling empty..." Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson

The reason I say it is better to say capsized Christianity is that running on empty(feeling empty) is the same as treading water(you can't keep it up for long). Being capsized is dangerous business and at that point we are going to need to be rescued. We have to kill the selfishness and the sin in our life. We have to flip-flop the invertedness and chase after the Spirit of God. The stress levels will go down and then and only then can we say, "In Him, we live and move and have our being".