A few of our Genesis team members enjoyed attending and exhibiting at the American Psychological Association (APA) Convention this year in Washington DC (August 2–6, 2017).
I was honored to meet Dr. Philip Zimbardo at the APA Convention. Dr. Zimbardo is a psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University. He has served as the President of the APA. He is known for his 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment and has since authored many notable works, including The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil and his TED talk on The Psychology of Evil. More recently, he has written on heroism.
I remember learning of the landmark Stanford Prison Experiment in my earliest Introduction to Psychology course at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida in 1986. It is sobering to realize that any of us can fall prey to abuse of power. In my academic career, I continued to revisit the Stanford Prison Experiment as an MA, Ed.S, and Psy.D. student, as well as teach about it in multiple psychology courses. In all my receptions to this experiment, I was deeply stirred and sometimes in tears. An overview of the Stanford prison experiment can be found at http://www.prisonexp.org/ .
Dr. Zimbardo notes on his website that he was born during the Great Depression (1933) and grew up in the Bronx in poverty, where he witnessed the interplay of good and evil. This influenced his interest in the human condition, the primary subject matter of his career as a social psychologist.
One of my areas of specialty as a psychologist is trauma recovery, and specifically helping clients who were traumatized during childhood. I have had the privilege in my counseling career to journey with courageous souls in the healing process. I have also personally experienced healing in my own life.
God heals all human diseases (Psalm 103:3). That includes physical, mental, relational, psychological, spiritual, and those of the soul. God alone understands the mystery of good verses evil in our world, lives, and our very human nature. Only God is responsible for redemption of all pain. The primary passage that informs my trauma recovery work is Genesis 50:20,
“What was intended for evil, GOD has used for good and the saving of many people.”
By Trina Young Greer, Psy.D.
Genesis Counseling Center, Executive Director
- Excellence – Best-in-class delivery of services
- Teamwork – Togetherness, unity, how we operate
- Godly character – Uncompromising beliefs, actions and moral standards
- Transcendent – “Big Picture” thinking and acting – “Legacy” work
- Ownership – Taking responsibility and doing what is best for the organization
- Growth – Learner mindset
Leaders are Life Long Learners
In effective teams, leaders and members support each other and share the responsibility of success. Conversely, low functioning teams accredit themselves with success while attributing failure to leadership (Wheelan, 2013). Both of these scenarios involve a mindset that is either geared toward growth or remaining stagnant.
The effective team will embrace a growth mindset while the low functioning team will consign to a fixed mindset. When leaders of organizations are committed to the growth mindset, they cultivate a powerful culture of learning and ownership. In these healthy environments exists shared pain and shared gain. Let’s take a look at the game-changing features of the learner mindset!
Being a Learner
- Learners challenge the fixed mindset by embracing change. Change is a certainty of life and required for growth. Thriving organizations consistently identify areas where growth is needed and take action! Interestingly, organizational health often results in numerical growth. Personal growth happens when those with the learner mindset are not limited by their perceived lack of abilities, potential, challenges, frustrations, criticism from others, or the status quo. Try this: begin making your next life change with a more positive outlook by realizing that change is necessary for growth. You can believe that change makes us better!
- Learners ask open-ended questions to discover solutions rather than merely stating their opinions as facts. Try this: use what, when, and how questions, steering clear from questions which result in a simple “Yes” or “No” response.
- Learners seek input and feedback from others. Those with the growth mindset welcome and value the contributions from their team whereas those with the fixed mindset are easily offended by feedback or constructive criticism. Try this: invite others around you to offer feedback or challenges to your next decision and commit yourself not to becoming offended if you perceive the input as unhelpful.
Obstacles are Opportunities
Learners view failure and obstacles as opportunities for growth. We have the promise of hardship in this life and success is certain to come with many painful failures. As people of faith, we trust that God uses our suffering to bring growth, character development, and hope.
Failures are Partners in Success
When I was growing up, Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player on earth! I had this famous poster hanging on my wall:
Try this: View your next perceived failure as a partner in your success. Write down at least three positive takeaways from this painful experience and refer back to them when you need future encouragement. Fail forward!
Wisdom in Judgment
Learners refrain from being overly critical. We make judgment calls every day – from a simple decision to turn right on red to the more complex decisions like whether or not to place our aging parents in assisted living. Each day presents a series of choices to make quick, passing judgments or to intentionally decide to glean wisdom and insights from our experiences. Try this: take a quick self-assessment by asking yourself if you give new people that you meet an opportunity or do you quickly write them off? Do you focus on the strengths and potential of others or do you judge them as lazy, limited, and not very useful?
Guard Your Vocabulary
Learners guard their vocabulary. While some people are clearly more optimistic than others, optimism can be learned. I repeat, optimism can be learned! Negative thoughts can be taken captive and re-framed to a more positive thought or statement. Try this: avoid saying words like: “can’t, should, and I wish” and use no negative self-talk for one week. Begin challenging yourself to think and speak differently.
Lead as a Life-Long Learner
Bringing it all home: having a growth or learner mindset will expand your positive influence on others. If you are a leader, it is your responsibility to develop a healthy culture in your varying contexts. Leading as a life-long learner will set a powerful example for others to follow and will help develop a winning team! Always be willing to learn!
Wheelan, S. A. (2013). Creating effective teams: A guide for members and leaders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Article by: Cameron S. Ashworth, MA
Blog Post by: Sarah Warner, MS
The excellence we strive for here at Genesis is best-in-class delivery of service. But what exactly does excellence mean? How do you define excellence?
Ronnie Oldham, an Oklahoma Sales Representative, says, “Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.” Vince Lombardi quotes that “A person’s quality of life is in direct proportion of a person’s commitment to excellence, regardless of what field they may be in.”
But how does excellence differ from perfection? Perfection is often superficial, selfish or unrepeatable. Excellence is internal, contagious and a way of life. One of the key differences between excellence and perfectionism is that perfectionism focuses on the outcome, whereas excellence focuses on the process. According to Vince Lombardi, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
Aristotle says that “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Some qualities of excellence to strive for are:
- What deeply moves you
- Compels you into action
- Passion touches, moves and inspires
- Is at the core of excellence
- “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23
- A willingness to “stick to it.”
- Uncompromising and unending support
- Drives and anchors us in challenging times
- Enables us to maintain a high degree of perseverance
- “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2
- Giving your best to the world while evoking others to do the same
- Understanding your purpose and mission
- Spiritual Gifts – I Corinthians 12
- When you have integrity, your word means something
- Words = Actions
- “Say only ‘yes’ if you mean ‘yes,’ and say only ‘no’ if you mean ‘no.’ If you must say more than ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ it is from the Evil One.” – Matthew 5:37
- “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.” – Ecclesiastes 5:5
- Integrity is keeping your promise simply because, “Because I said I would…”
All good work serves God:
- Work well done and for God’s glory is Christian work
- We model Christ in the workplace when we perform our work so well and with a good attitude that we inspire others to seek God
- Our work is evangelism
- God is honored when our service is excellent
So, how can you demonstrate excellence?
- To your co-workers?
- To your clients?
- To your family?
Gordon, Jan. “Top 10 Qualities of Excellence.” 2002. http://qualitycoaching.com/Articles/excellence.html
Green, Holly. “Redefining Excellence for Today’s World.” 2012. Forbes. http://onforb.es/xm6UsB
Lombardi, Vince. http://www.vincelombardi.com/quotes.html.
Article Written by: Stephanie Bomar, MHR
Blog Post by: Sarah Warner, M.S.
Successful teams have many common qualities. Trust, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and attention to results are some of these qualities, which we at Genesis believe are a strong foundation that makes us an excellent team.
Successful teams are trusting: Members of great teams trust each other on a fundamental and emotional level. There is comfort within the group to be vulnerable with each other and not afraid to express weaknesses.
Successful teams have healthy conflict: Members of great teams are not afraid to have challenging and passionate dialogue about issues or the performance of the team. Agreeing on all points or work processes is unrealistic and unnecessary. The goal of healthy conflict is to discover the truth, the best decision, and the best solution for the team; it is not about making a point or winning an argument! Healthy teams take the initiative to hold one another accountable.
Successful teams are committed: Members of great teams are committed to the company and to the success of the team. There is a sense of ownership and buy-in among strong teams.
Successful teams are accountable: Members of great teams are not afraid to humbly and gently hold one another accountable to excellent standards.
Successful teams are attentive to results: Members of great teams lay down their personal agendas to serve the best interests of the team.
Patrick Lencioni’s Ideal Team Player
Humble: more interested in others than self.
Hungry: willing to do what is necessary to get things done.
Smart: people-smart and able to adapt their behavior as needed.
So what do these virtues look like in action within a church? Here’s what I’ve seen:
Humble team players are willing to put the needs of the entire ministry over the needs of their individual ministries. They also give credit to God without ignoring or devaluing their gifts.
Hungry team players execute on plans without being pushed or reminded. They aren’t slowed by problems but challenged and motivated by them.
Smart team players understand how to engage others, empower them, and coach their effectiveness. They attract high-capacity volunteers because those people know they are valued and will be given the opportunities to use their gifts.
- Lencioni, P. (2005). Overcoming the five dysfunctions of a team. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
- Lencioni, Patrick. The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues: A Leadership Fable. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print
Article Written By: Cameron S. Ashworth, M.A.
Blog Post By: Sarah Warner, M.S.
“Ownership” can be defined as doing what is best for the organization.
“You are bigger than your defined role, and you are much more than your job title.” Play your part– transcend your job title, BE A HERO.
–Luke Bucklin from Sierra Bravo Corporation.
A person that is committed to what’s best for the organization looks out for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-5 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Questions To Consider:
- How would our clients be better served if we all increased our level of Ownership? How would it benefit you?
- What advice would you give a new employee on how to embrace Ownership as one of our core values?
- What is one step you are willing to take to increase your Ownership?
Article Written By: Cameron S. Ashworth, M.A.
At the heart of every person and organization are their values, principles and beliefs. Values are usually seen as “Core Values” and define what the firm considers truly important (Rothaermel, 2012). Do you know what is fundamentally important to your life as well as the company you work for? If your company has core values, are they communicated well across the organization?
As Andy Stanley often says, “Vision Leaks.” Visualize a leaky bucket trying to hold water. This is also true for core values … we can post them on the wall but until they come to life on a consistent basis, they can often become cliché and forgotten about. Since values are at the center of a strong organizational culture, it is vital for leaders to persistently share them so that they become part of the fabric of how decisions are made and can be seen in the day-to-day operations (Rothaermel, 2012). A daily question to ask is, “Do we see our core values applied in a practical way?”
At Genesis Counseling Center, we have developed the following set of core values:
- Excellence – Best-in-class delivery of services
- Teamwork – Togetherness, unity, how we operate and maintain a competitive advantage
- Godly Character – Uncompromising beliefs, actions and moral standards
- Transcendent – “Big Picture” thinking and acting – “Legacy” work
- Ownership – Doing what is best for the organization, solution-focused
- Growth – Learner mindset
Look for blog posts on these core values in the near future and join us in a journey to take them to a new level both personally and as part of the Genesis team.
Questions to ponder:
- What are my core values and how do they align with the list above?
- In what ways do we practically display these Core Values?
- How do we display our Core Values at Genesis?
Article Written By: Cameron S. Ashworth, M.A.
Rothaermel, F.T. (2013). Strategic management concepts and cases. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Building a private practice can sometimes seem like a steep dusty path that looks uphill in both directions. If you are just starting your practice you probably have a long list of things to do and many choices to make which can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time.
As we celebrate spring and wrap-up the first quarter of 2015, I encourage you to take a break for a few moments on your path. Here are a few questions to help you evaluate the where you have traveled and anticipate what lies ahead:
- What did you learn about yourself and your practice over the first 3 months of the year?
- Are you on track to meet your goals? If not, what change would help you get back on track?
- Which actions have been the most helpful? How can you leverage them further?
- Which plans have not worked out the way you wanted? How can you stop, re-start or change them?
- As you look at the path ahead, what are the few actions that will help you the most in reaching your goals?
- How aligned is your work with your core values?
I’m convinced that your practice (and your life for that matter) will significantly improve if you make a habit of periodically stopping to check out the view. If we are not careful, we will allow our practice to consume our lives. Consider asking a coach to help in this evaluation process. Coaching helps you dig deeper and maximize the learning. Besides that, we all need an outside perspective every now and then.
Hoping your next quarter will be the best yet!
More is less … when it comes to blogs. If you want to successfully use blogging to help attract clients you need to write less and say more. People are impatient and you must capture their interest quickly. Here are six tips from writing coach Mary Yerkes (www.maryyerkescoaching.com) that can make the difference in the success of your blogs.
- The headline is most important for “grabbing” the interest of readers. The headline will be read by 8 out of 10 people.
- Use fewer words. Blogs should include 50% fewer words than an article written for print.
- Give the reader the bottom-line first and then unpack it in the remainder of the article. Don’t build up to your main point or you may never have a chance to make it. Write using an inverted pyramid.
- Make the text easy to scan. For instance, use bullet points. This improves readability by more than 100%.
- Include a picture. Human faces are especially helpful.
- End your post with a call to action.
To be successful in utilizing the web in helping build your business, you must learn the craft of content marketing and writing compelling blog-posts. When we first started blogging we did not follow these principles and rarely attracted much interest. Make it a priority to learn how to communicate effectively on the web and you will grow your practice.
Headlines are the way you make a first impression with your readers. If you don’t have a catchy headline most likely you won’t have many people reading your blog. Studies have shown the following ways help you “grab” readers:
- “How-to” headlines that state a benefit are the most linked to headlines on the web.
- Headlines that use numbers also get more attention and encourage people to keep reading.
Once you caught their attention, it is important to provide content that is focused on the needs of your readers (your current or perspective clients). The information needs to be valuable and relevant to them and their world. If you try to reach everyone, you reach no one. Marketing research suggests people are tired of being sold to and they long for relationship. As therapists and/or coaches we specialize in relationship.
Mary Yerkes gives the following guidance for how to write effective blogs that will effectively engage and benefit your readers:
- Tap into the emotions of your readers. Assure your care and love for them. Boldly design your message to allow them to hear this. Assume your readers are asking: “Do you see me and do you care and love me?”
- Write with heart and connect with the hearts of readers.
- Learn to build relationships with words.
- Technique does matter, but focusing on technique alone will not build a thriving business.
When people are looking for a counselor or a coach, they are looking for a relationship with a person. They are not seeking a relationship with an idea or a company. You must convert your blogging into relationships to build your practice. Blogging should help you building existing relationships and start new ones. Through the “voice” of your blog people hopefully come to know you, like you and trust you. Establishing this foundation can often make the difference in which counselor a client chooses or which practice a referral source to refer to.
Effective blogging can be a helpful tool to strengthen these relationships. This may be especially helpful for counselors, who need to prioritize their face-to-face time for actual therapy work. Your referral sources value their time as well, so building relationships on-line (one blog to many readers) can be a win-win approach. This provides a way to stay in contact with valuable community partners while developing your network with potential new partners and referral sources.
Remember that writing for the web is markedly different than writing for print. When people come to a website, they want to “grab and go.” Make sure your site includes specific information that answers a question or helps the reader solve a problem. Mary tells us to keep the following in mind when writing content for your website:
- Web users typically do not read – they skim.
- People spend an average of 27 seconds on your webpage – you have to make sure you resonate with them.
- People look at a website in an “F” pattern.
- The most critical parts are the first two paragraphs. Be sure to give the reader what he or she needs, or provide hope for what they need.
- Scan the left side of the page and break it up with sub-headings, paragraphs and/or bullet points.
- Think about your readers: what keeps them up at night? Leverage this empathy in what you write about.
- Tell people how you are going to meet their needs. Tell them who you serve, how you serve them, and instill hope. Tell them the benefits they will get from working with you.
- The most important word is “You”: when people hear their name or feel the message is personal, neurotransmitters light up. This allows the reader to hear your message from a personal and emotional viewpoint.
Apply these tips and draw more people to your practice and website through effective blog writing. For more information on building a successful Christian counseling practice, visit us at www.genesisassist.com.
Successful leaders and organizations have dreams that are supported by their vision, mission, goals, and core values. Dreams can give birth to a leader’s vision and must never be too small!
Lita Bane has exclaimed:
“Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood and will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble and logical plan never dies, but long after we are gone will be a living thing (LEAD 620, n.d.).”
I like this quote because too often our plans are too small, if even made at all. Leaders must dare to dream large! At the same time, a dream is not to be some whimsical and illogical hope, but rather a well-intentioned and thought out plan that reaches far and wide. Powerful dreaming consists of mental awareness, logical thought, effective planning, and fearless courage.
Once a leader dreams big, he or she must plan for action and follow through with the vision for legacy. Joel Barker has stated, “Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference” (LEAD 620, n.d.). Without taking action on a dream, there is no vision, without vision an organization will not make a positive and lasting difference (Prov. 29:18, KJV).
The importance of the leader’s role cannot be overemphasized. While there is great value in teamwork, success of an organization can hinge on an effective leader. Effective leaders define the vision, clarify the vision, and inspire others to fulfill it (Robin, 2014).
Vision asks the ‘What’ question, specifically, “What do we want to become?” An effective vision defines the desired outcome of the organization and brings clarity to where the organization wants to go in the future (Robin, 2014). It is imperative that the leader write out a clear and succinct vision statement so that it may be well understood by those within the organization and by shareholders (Robin, 2014). Vision, along with the mission, is the perpetual driving force behind an organization and their daily decisions. It is noteworthy; the vision statement is the first step of strategic planning and therefore, precedes the mission statement (David, 2011).
A company’s mission answers the ‘Why’ question and reveals the purpose behind the work being accomplished. The mission will uncover an organization’s “purpose, motives, and intentions” (Robin, 2014, p. 2). A solid mission will unite and inspire an organization to feel like they are making a true impact. Employees working under a mission that they believe in will feel a greater sense of satisfaction in their work. I have been thankful to be part of thriving organizations that have had high morale and low turnover while promoting the mission in order to accomplish the vision. An organization’s mission also inspires people within and works outward as quality work reaches consumers (Robin, 2014). Importantly, strategic goals are developed in order to support and accomplish the mission of an organization.
Core values, principles, and beliefs are also key ingredients, which make up the philosophical underpinnings of an organization. Values are reflected in words like teamwork or excellence; principles are operational guides; and beliefs are pre-suppositions and assumptions to what the organization determines as true (Robin, 2014). It is also important for leaders within successful organizations to clarify expectations, roles, and strategic goals for the company and for each position (Robin, 2014).
In closing, leaders play a critical role in steering an organization to success by taking action on their dreams while carrying out a clear vision. Concise and clarified vision and mission statements are needed for organizational buy-in and optimum success. By setting clear vision, mission, goals, values, principles, beliefs, and expectations, leaders can understand where the organization is going, have a laser-focus to get there, and ultimately, help the organization arrive at their destination.
David, F. R. (2011). Strategic management: Concepts and cases. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Robin, D. (2014). Vision, mission and values. Retrieved from http://www.abetterworkplace.com/developing-the-organization-and-the-people-in-it/
LEAD 620. (n.d.). Lecture notes: Vision quotes. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University. Retrieved from http://learn.liberty.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_57401_1%26url%3D#global-nav-flyout
Cameron Ashworth, M.S.
Director of Operations, Genesis Counseling Center
Trina and Steve will also be speaking on “What We Didn’t Learn in School – Building a Successful Private Practice”. Please stop by and see us!