Archives for January 2014

How I Write with Alice Patterson

BRPD - Front Cover - 2012.10.12How I Write — Interview with Alice Patterson
Author of Bridging the Racial and Political Divide

I had the privilege of working with Alice to publish her book in 2010 with a second printing in 2012. More than any other book, her writings have helped me to understand race relations in politics; the power of repentance, reconciliation, and prayer in the governmental arena; and the spiritual influence on political parties and platforms.

Alice is a woman of integrity, trusted by leaders on both sides of the aisle. Below is an interview with Alice about how she writes. I think a big takeaway from her writing process is the power of story in the context of a nonfiction book. Also how keeping a heart-felt journal can help you write from the heart when it’s time to write your book.

You can read an excerpt from her book on my website here.

Why did you write your book?
My book started as a research project because I had to understand what God was saying to me. When I shared what I had learned with friends, they encouraged me to write it down. If the topic was important to me and others I trust, I knew it would be important to a broader audience.

What do you like the most about the book? What will other readers find interesting?
I’ve been amazed at what readers have found most interesting. It’s like the Holy Spirit makes different parts of the book come alive based on the reader’s need. One reader received grace about a past abortion. I’m not sure how she got that out of this book, but I’m glad she did. Another learned the principle of corporate pain. It was new information to him and important for people in politics. Others have been set free from racism. A pastor of a Hispanic church took a worship declaration about the greatness of God from the book and starts his Sunday morning services with that.

How did you write the book? What was your writing process?
I tried to put together an outline but couldn’t. I had taken several writing courses but struggled to follow those instructions. I heard someone talk about the power of story—that it’s stories that people remember. I can tell stories, so that’s how I wrote the book. The final book is in the order I wrote it and when I was done, I was done. I enjoy having an assignment to write. I like having a topic and a deadline, but sometimes the hardest part of writing is figuring out what to say. The beginning process is the hardest. Although I didn’t have a outline for the book, I just started writing stories.

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The Power and Necessity of an Author’s Platform

A physical platform is what a person stands on in a crowd so an audience can see him or her. For an author, your platform is how you connect with the people who want to hear what you have to say. You can do that through a website, a blog, speaking engagements, webinars, book signings, social media like Facebook and Twitter, newsletters, e-blasts, videos, podcasts, etc.

curtain-165488_640Your platform is the place where people can interact with you. It is where you stand and share what you have written. 

Very few people can be like Justin Bieber—just put a few videos on YouTube and a year later have one of the top songs in the country and a huge fan base. But everyone’s book has that chance. To give yours the best start, begin building your audience now.

An amazing resource to help you build your platform is the book Platform by Michael Hyatt. If you don’t want to buy a book, at a minimum check out Hyatt’s website, which has a wealth of great information that you can access for free. Invest some time this week and do some reading, watching, and listening here.

If you don’t have a website or blog, watch the 22-minute video on how you can Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less. A self-hosted blog will cost you some money. So will www.squarespace.com. It’s not free, but it is reasonable. And if you’re serious about building a platform, it’s a good way to go.

You can check out quality free blog and website options at www.weebly.com, www.blogger.com, www.wordpress.com, or www.tumblr.com/about. These are good options that will give you a place to begin and also provide the flexibility to expand in the future if needed.

If you’re not sure of the importance of an author website, take a look at both sides of the issue as presented by Jane Friedman here.

Don’t dismiss the importance of social media. Nearly one out of four people in the world are a part of a social network of some kind. That’s about two billion people. As of 2013, more than 1.1 billion people around the world are on Facebook. Someone clicks the Facebook “Like” button more than 4.5 billion times a day. That’s more than 52,000 times per second.

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The Inspiring Power of Dreams and the Business Solutions They Provide

If you’re a leader looking for good leadership tips, I have one for you: Pay attention to the dreams you have at night.

The selections below are from chapter 1 of What Your Dreams Are Telling You: Unlocking Solutions While You Sleep, which Cindy McGill and I (David Sluka) wrote together. It’s a positive, encouraging look at how what you dream at night can provide solutions during the day.

You’ll see how one leader of a Fortune 500 Company listened to her dream and brought a significant change to business and the way an industry does business. I’m very proud to personally know Julie Gilbert Newrai—whose story we tell to open the book. She’s amazing and the work she does is amazing. I’m grateful she let us tell her story. Enjoy it and be encouraged to let your dreams at night make a difference during the day.

The piece you're looking for might come as you sleep.

Dreams unlock solutions while you sleep. What are your dreams telling you?

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What kind of business results do you think a dream at night could inspire? How about a $4.4 billion increase in revenue!

In 2004 Julie Gilbert Newrai was creating a new business called Magnolia Home Theater for Best Buy Company, Inc. As she built Magnolia, she continually asked herself if a frontline employee or a customer with the same idea as she had could ever realize the opportunity of bringing a new, game-changing business to life. With that in mind, she created an internal program inviting the creative voices of employees and customers to be heard. The passion and innovation she found in these voices deeply impacted Julie.

As part of the business development process, Julie also interviewed high-end male customers and their wives, which increased her awareness of the influence and spending power of women. Simply put, women were making the overwhelming majority of purchases in Best Buy stores (and in every major industry around the globe), and no process existed to bring their fresh ideas to life.

During this time, Julie had a dream taking her back to her childhood when she would stay up late at night listening to wolves howl. She immediately saw the similarity between what was happening at Best Buy and the voices of the wolves. The voices of customers and customer-facing employees were like the howls, except that they went unheard and therefore were not receiving the attention necessary to bring forth any winning combination of business ideas.

Inspired by this dream, Julie created WOLF, which she defines as “a methodology and structure of global innovation teams.” These teams, called wolf packs, were comprised of customers and employees. The wolf packs were connected to key executive business leaders who could implement the best ideas the wolf packs generated about training, marketing, call centers, website design, store design, hiring and other key business elements.

Four years after the dream that led to Julie’s creation of WOLF, some of the business outcomes it achieved at Best Buy included:

  • $4.4 billion increase in revenue from female customers (11 percent increase in total company revenue)
  • Highest ever female market share in company history
  • Largest increase in brand perception in company history
  • Passionate, global, viral customer networks growing market share and innovating new business offerings
  • 5 percent reduction in female turnover, resulting in a minimum of $25 million in savings
  • 18 percent increase in the number of female employees
  • 40 percent increase in female general managers and general managers in training, and 60 percent increase in female operations managers

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Who Does God Want to Bless? by Dick Hochreiter

Super to Natural Front Cover OnlyThe article below is adapted from the book How to Bring God’s Super to Your Natural by Dick Hochreiter. I had the privilege to work with Dick to write four smaller booklets and then later compile them into this book, which Dick has shared around the world. He is a businessman and former Marine who loves to bless people and help them experience God’s presence.

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Do you believe God wants to bless everyone? I find that most people believe that God only wants to bless some people, like those who go to church, who obey His commands, or do good things.

A few years ago I was a few seats away from a woman on an airplane who was visibly sick. I felt God wanted me to pray for her. I said to the woman sitting next to her, “I’m a minister and I’d love to pray for that woman if she wants me to. Could you ask her?” She asked and the lady said, “Yes, of course. Please!” She had a serious migraine that wasn’t going away. I switched seats so I could sit next to the lady with the migraine, anointed her with oil, and prayed for her.

A woman sitting on the other side of the woman I was praying for said to me, “Do you do this often?”

I replied, “Just when the Lord shows me that people need help. I like to help them.”

She asked me if I was a minister. “Well,” I responded, “Not like you would understand. I minister in marketplace businesses around the world.”

She then inquired what I do when I go into businesses. I told her we pray and bless. “These are all believers, right?” she asked.

“No, not necessarily. We just go wherever God leads us. We minister to believers or unbelievers. That doesn’t matter to us.”

This woman’s attitude changed immediately. She said, “You can’t just bless people.” Without using the exact words, she basically went on to explain, “God doesn’t want to bless everyone, only certain people.”

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