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Leading in an Era of Increased Incivility and Disrespect

Posted on 14 August 2017 by Scott Cooper

My July 26, 2017 print edition of The Edgefield Advertiser was titled “You Have Influence.” It highlighted a worldwide event titled “The Global Leadership Summit,”  which was taking place outside of Chicago on August 10th and 11th, 2017.  I encouraged you to attend the local simulcast event, which was one of over 400 venues participating in the United States.

Returning on Saturday August 12th, as I travelled from Chicago, IL to Greenville, SC for a wedding, the only thing I saw on the television screens both inside the airports and my hotel lobby was the incidents taking place this weekend in Charlottesville, VA, where an extremely small percentage of our population was garnering virtually all the expensive media air time.

As I walked through O’Hare airport, I committed in my own mind to not watch the news, to do my best at tuning out my Facebook feed, which was largely filled with comments about this small percentage of our population, garnering so much attention.  I instead decided to focus my energy on what I had learned in the auditorium of over 10,000 people in a Chicago Suburb, an event where over 400,000 participated nation-wide via simulcast, and another 400,000 plus international folks will participate in the following days.  I pondered on this new generation of leaders, perhaps surpassing over a million worldwide participants, and how this tremendous movement likely received no airtime in the main stream media.

I choose hope.  I believe a new generation of leaders are rising up, in every county of our republic and in many nations of our world.  This new generation will be armed with humility, in addition to other leadership skills and will chart a course where they will not profit from division, like so many do today.

I want to share with you a synopsis of Bill Hybels opening message at this global event.  There are “10 Rules of Respect,”, but he started with a question, followed by making three critical statements.  The question was, “How do we lead in an era of increased incivility and disrespect?”

They statements were, “The solution begins with me,” “The highest value at GLS is humility,” and “Armed with enough humility, you can learn from anyone.”

Here are the “10 Rules of Respect:”

  1. Leaders must set the example for how to differ without demonizing.
  2. Leaders must be able to have spirited conversations without drawing “drawing blood.”
  3. Leaders must not interrupt others who are talking or dominate discussions.
  4. Leaders must set the example of limiting their volume levels and refusing to use “incendiary” or “belittling” words that guarantee to derail true conversation.
  5. Leaders must set the example of being courteous in word and deed . . . to everyone, at every level.
  6. Leaders must never stereotype people.
  7. Leaders must apologize immediately when they are wrong, instead of denying or doubling down.
  8. Leaders must form opinions carefully and stay open-minded if better or new information comes along.
  9. Leaders must set the example of showing up when they say they are going to show up and doing what they say they are going to do.
  10. Leaders must set “Rules of Respect” for everyone in the organization and enforce them relentlessly as a sort of code of conduct.

In closing, what we witnessed in Charlottesville this weekend was not leadership.  It continues to receive the bulk of expensive media time because it gets ratings, which provides advertising revenue, which makes money.  Perhaps I’ll write more about the lack of leadership in the media next week, but for now, I sincerely hope you will join me in praying for the next generation of leaders, which ARE being developed, who WILL lead based on the points above, and will not seek to profit through division.

Here’s wishing you a productive week!

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You Have Influence!

Posted on 26 July 2017 by Scott Cooper

You have influence, very likely beyond what you imagine!

If you have studied the principles of six degrees of separation, you recognize that an individual’s potential influence living in the 21st century has the potential of reaching an unprecedented level, unlike any other time in world history.

The question is, what will you use your influence for?  Positive things or negative things?  To build up others or to build up self?  To benefit the next generation, or to live for the moment?

The vast majority of people never fully develop their potential.  This is true with all our abilities, but it is especially true when it comes to influence.

I want you to be aware of a unique opportunity to learn how to increase your influence from some of the greatest minds and highest achievers alive today, with respect to leadership.  Whether your current role is:

  • That of a stay at home mom;
  • A father;
  • A facilitator of a small group study;
  • A Team Member / employee within an organization;
  • A Team Leader within an organization;
  • A C-Level Leader within an organization;
  • A Business Owner / CEO;

Everyone has influence, whether you are at the top (or at the bottom, as this list is displayed), or you are working at home developing future influencers, perhaps the role which has the greatest impact to influence the next generation, (at the top, as this list is displayed).

On Thursday August 10th and Friday August 11th I invite you to invest your time at The Global Leadership Summit being simulcast for the Greater CSRA at True North Church on Martintown Road, just south of I-20 in North Augusta.  This annual event has taken place for over 20 years and will be simulcast into over 600 venues’ worldwide!

Through a series of events, which I may write about after the event, I have the privilege of attending the live event in Chicago, so if you participate – whether locally in the greater CSRA, or one of the other worldwide simulcast locations – I would greatly love to hear how it personally impacted you, your family, your leadership and your effort to increase your influence, which is really what leadership is all about!

For more details on this event in the CSRA region, please go to – http://truenorthchurch.com/events/global-leadership-summit/

To see this list of renown speakers, please go to – https://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/

Here’s wishing you a blessed and productive week!

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Improving Our Communication Skills

Posted on 21 June 2017 by Scott Cooper

The greatest challenge we have in our republic is avoiding consequences caused by polarized advocates who can’t hear each other.  The screaming from the extreme is so loud the middle can’t hear a clear message or see a clear path, even when we have a middle of the road compassionate leader, who is trying to articulate one.

One could say the extremes don’t want to hear each other.  Better stated, they don’t want you to hear.

Many have been trained to shut down debate as soon alternative views are shared, by calling names.  Spend any time in Social Media, and you will see this is true.  The name often ends with “phobia,” includes racist, or the individual is labeled uncompassionate.  Words like ignorant or snowflake are also commonly used, but the result is the same – the ability to hear the ideas expressed, if there are any legitimate ideas, is drowned out by name calling.

Some believe the tactic of name calling is utilized because the individual employing this strategy doesn’t really have a coherent message, or isn’t confident enough in their message to discuss it civilly.  I believe there is some truth to that.  Regardless of which polarized side uses the tactic, we need to demand better.

Most citizens, when this tactic is employed simply tune out.  I would urge more citizens to rather than tune out, that we toughen our personal skin, engage and demand better.  Let us NOT allow the polarized utilizing this tactic be successful, where the good patriotic citizen disengages, but rather may the good patriotic citizen stand up, demand more from the bully – enabling the bully to either hone their debate skills, or pick up their sticks and stones, and go home.

I believe the middle of our country, which is where our Commander-in-Chief, with his 8th grade tweeting style regularly reaches, is up to the debate, and up to any required change we must execute to achieve a more unified, financially stable and sustainable republic.

The tactics described above, which are rampantly being deployed, lead to comedians like Kathy Griffin, plays like “The staging of Julius Caesar” by the New York City Public Theater, where a sitting President is assassinated, or the mass assassination attempt last week of the GOP Congressional Baseball team in Alexandria, VA.

These tactics must stop, or we will continue to see an escalation of violence.  The duty lies with us though, average American’s, to engage and put an end to it.  It won’t stop on its own in the media or on the University Campus.  It will only stop when the middle demands it to stop.

I hope you have a blessed and productive week!

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Contrasting Three Events on Memorial Day – EA May 31, 2017

Posted on 29 May 2017 by Scott Cooper

In my article last week, I applauded Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam, for hosting the summit where United States President Donald Trump called on the world to work together to “Drive Out” those who seek death and destruction.  Our Commander in Chief specifically stated that those who adhere to the death and destruction of infidels must be driven out of the mosques throughout the world.  Although President Trump didn’t specifically state it, one should deduce he meant the mosques in the closed nations of the Islamic faith, like Saudi Arabia, from where he was speaking, as well as the thousands of mosques which are being constructed all throughout the Western Hemisphere.  It should be noted that many of the newly constructed mosques throughout the West are on sites of former churches of both the Protestant and Catholic Christian traditions.

Monday morning, I had the privilege of attending the Memorial Day Service in Edgefield, where the names of fallen heroes from Edgefield County, who fought in past wars, were read.  I am so thankful for Michael Washington, Edgefield County’s Veterans Affairs Officer, and all the others who organized this important event.

As I sat listening to the names of the fallen service members, who invested in us with their service and sacrifice in the Armed Forces, I couldn’t stop thinking of the thousands of civilians who are dying annually in the war Commander in Chief Trump was addressing one week prior.  The warfare taking place today most often leads to the death and destruction of civilian innocents and most of their names will never be read in future Memorial Day Services.  Yes, large attacks like September 11th, 2001 we will continue to remember, and read the names of those lost.  But the vast majority of skirmishes in today’s war, taking place on a weekly basis around the globe, will not be memorialized.

Then I reflected on another historic day which coincides with Memorial Day 2017 – the 564th Anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, when the Islamic Ottoman Turks invaded and conquered the cradle of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  On that day over 4,000 citizens were killed and some 30,000 were enslaved or deported. The majority of churches were burned.  Constantinople was renamed to Istanbul.

Finally, I reflected on the demographics of the crowd honoring Edgefield’s heroes and the challenge we have ahead of all of us in educating not only the upcoming generation, but much of the generation currently in leadership about the worldviews which for centuries dictated the prevention and outcome of the wars those we memorialized this week fought in.

The Barna Group, which studies the five dominant faith groups in our republic has found that only roughly 4 % of today’s Millennials have an understanding of the Judeo-Christian worldview upon which Western Civilization was built.  The percentage of Generation X’ers isn’t significantly better.

What encourages me about our time period in history, where our collective knowledge of these conflicting worldviews is so poor, is that we can rapidly improve our knowledge, if we are willing to make the investment.

More on making that investment over the coming weeks.  Here’s wising you a productive week!

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President Trump in Saudi Arabia – EA May 24, 2017

Posted on 24 May 2017 by Scott Cooper

More than one contributor to The Edgefield Advertiser has written in the past about the conflict of worldviews between the Judeo-Christian Founding principles of our republic and other worldviews which stand in stark contrast to us.  On more than one occasion, I have personally written about Islam’s conflict with Western Civilization.

I am so proud of our Commander in Chief, Donald Trump, who went to the cradle of Islam, Saudi Arabia, to deliver an exceptional speech this past Sunday then traveled on to the cradle of the Jewish and Christian Faith, Israel – and then later to the Vatican.

May all people of faith be in prayer for him and our U.S. delegation, and this new generation of world of leadership as it continues to unfold.  We truly are living in historic times, where important paradigm shifts are taking place.  Regardless of your faith, or where you stand politically, these paradigm shifts will impact all of us, in what I believe is the conflict of the 21st century, much like the Cold War became the primary conflict of much of the last century.

If you did not watch President Trump’s Speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday, I highly encourage you to do so – http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/21/politics/trump-saudi-speech-transcript/.

Not only will this week’s events sharpen our republics foreign policy for the coming years, it is forcing more and more Americans to seriously study the differences between these world faiths, which in my opinion, this is a good thing.

In closing, I applaud Saudi Arabia for hosting this past weekend’s summit.  The effort to reform those who seek death and destruction, or as President Trump worded it, “Drive them out,” must primarily take place within the Islamic faith itself.

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Week Three: Grace

Posted on 24 November 2016 by Scott Cooper

Grace

This is week three in a three-week series on things I am thankful for.  The first two subjects were work and family.  Today’s subject is grace.  Three things definitely worthy of our thankfulness, three things we definitely need, and three things connected.

I often address the theme that most of life’s issues are non-respecter of person issues.  Meaning that regardless of one’s race, socio-economic status, faith, education level, nationality or geographic region, the issue being discussed affects all of us equally.  That is definitely true when it comes to the three things I have stated I am thankful for.  Regardless of our background, all of us need to work, we all need family, and we all need grace – and we should be grateful for these things!

I went to thesaurus.com to consider all the words related to grace. It’s amazing as you can see, http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/grace. It is interesting to look at the antonyms as well.

Ultimately, I was thinking about forgiveness.

This Thanksgiving season we are coming out of a Presidential election where the word vitriolic sounds like an understatement.  Following the election, the vitriol evidenced on the nightly news seems historically high.

I returned to thesaurus.com again to look up vitriol.  The words that came up are: nastiness, contempt, hostility, sarcasm, distain, hatefulness, maliciousness.  There are more – but that sums up what we have witnessed on the nightly news since we elected our next Commander in Chief, Donald Trump.

In multiple cities we have witnessed organized protests where citizens who, rather than getting permits and protesting peacefully which is their First Amendment right, have, among other things, inconvenienced their fellow citizens by shutting down traffic which defies the rule of law, meanwhile chanting “Not my President!”

So, I decided to do a little research on the closeness of Presidential elections.  The electoral college is an important part of our republic, but today I am specifically speaking about the popular vote.  Our electoral history has produced 45 Presidents as a result of 58 elections.  Out of 58 elections, 7 were decided with less than a 1 % margin in the popular vote, 11 with less than a 3 % margin and 17 with less than a 5 % margin.  Stated differently, almost a third of our national elections for Commander in Chief have been decided by a less than 5 % margin of the popular vote.

Division in our country is not new, but the lack of grace is, at least for most of us.

I don’t know about you, but I find this troubling.  Especially when I consider the gospel message from Mark 6:14 & 15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Just like my previous editorials of things I am thankful for, work and family, there is an indication that the things we are thankful for include responsibility.  We can be thankful for work, and are responsible to work.  We can be thankful for family, and we have a responsibility to family.  Finally, we can be thankful for grace, but in order to receive grace, we have a responsibility, indeed a moral obligation to provide it.

I wish you and your family a rewarding Thanksgiving week.  In our republic, we have much to be thankful for.  After we recover from overeating and excessive football this weekend, I hope each of us will think about how we can be more graceful as we go about the work of providing for our family, the lowest level of civil governance and the communities we choose to reside in.

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Fatherhood, Part One – EA June 15, 2016

Posted on 17 June 2016 by Scott Cooper

HandsI have the privilege of sitting on a porch my great-grandfather sat on as our republic prepared for WWI. The same porch my grandfather sat on as he lived through the depression and our republic prepared for WWII.  The same porch my father sat on as he worked through the issues of the Cold War.

Today, I sit on that same porch as my generation, and the generation of my sons try to figure out a way to pay off the existing debt and unfunded liabilities our elected leaders have created for us since WWII.

With the crumbling infrastructure we face at the same time as the out of control and mis-prioritized spending – combined with the global insecurity we face, the road ahead can seem daunting.

I am, however encouraged. My son and his entrepreneurial spirit encourages me. His friends who are also entrepreneurs encourage me. His friends, and other young family members who are serving or have served in the armed services, in addition to the countless others who are serving in the armed services, also encourage me. Technology and the ability / opportunity to self-educate also encourages me. The young man I met this past Saturday in Columbia, SC who will be a junior in high school this year, who is organizing conservative groups in high schools all through-out our state encourages me.

I believe the next greatest generation is being assembled – and with the right mentorship from the middle-aged, of which I consider myself a part, and older generation, my father’s generation – I have great hope for our republic.

I also was with some folks this past weekend who were saying, “God is coming back soon,” almost as if we should take our hands off the steering wheel He charged us to steward. To those folks I say – “Let us live as if He is returning tomorrow, but work as if He isn’t returning for a thousand years!”

This is the first part of a four-part series surrounding the issue of fatherhood, which I believe is one of the most pressing issues of our day, and appropriate since this month we celebrate Fatherhood on June 19th.

I do find it interesting I wrote this on Saturday night, the night before the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida.  In this editorial, I referenced both my grandfather and my great-grandfather sitting on the porch thinking through the issues surrounding the World Wars they lived through.  There are some who believe World War III has already begun, we simply have not had our Pearl Harbor moment, yet.

I hope you have a blessed week.

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P.S.  As we reflect on this inter-generational baton race we are in, you may be interested in the article I wrote last week, as we remember the Allied invasion of Normandy.  Click Here to read that!  If you find it interesting, please leave a comment!

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Discouragement – EA May 11, 2016

Posted on 11 May 2016 by Scott Cooper

Road

I want to continue my theme that most of life’s issues are “non-respecter of person issues.

One afternoon this week I travelled down an incomplete road. Indeed, this time three years ago, this road did not even exist – except in my head!

Back then, when it was still just in my head, the road was about 150 feet to the right, down the slight slope. After speaking with someone more knowledgeable than myself, I altered the plan for the road a bit, then we went to work!

As I observe the foliage coming in, honestly I am a bit discouraged, because I am not as far along in the productive use of this land as I would like to be.

I am however encouraged because God has still provided me breath and strength to press on toward the goal. Press on, I will.

I can’t help but think of the millions of people discouraged right now, for one reason or another. It could be health, finances, concern over a loved one, a business, a marriage – or heaven forbid, civil governance!

Whatever discouragement YOU may face right now; I encourage you to press on. God has a perfect road for each of us. Sometimes it moves a little bit from what WE think it should be, and often HIS pace is not our pace. The point is – keep on keeping on!

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

I hope you have a blessed week!

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The Importance of Attiude – EA May 4, 2016

Posted on 04 May 2016 by Scott Cooper

Attitude is Everything

This week I want to continue the theme that the laws of life are “non-respecter of person issues.”  Last week I wrote about the Laws of Wealth Creation and Poverty, which I felt was an appropriate follow up to writing about Tax Day for two weeks, both Tax Day 1986 and Tax Day 2016 and how both of those days, separated by 30 years, remind me of two critical issues facing our republic, National Security and Economics.  It’s funny how the more things change, the more they really stay the same.

It doesn’t matter who you speak with these days, both issues: National Security and Economics, bring a lot of emotions to the conversation.  Some emotions consist of fear, trepidation, anger and bitterness.  I also mentioned how we have leaders who accentuate covetousness and greed to obtain followers – attitudes which breed discontent as well as other negative emotions and actions.

I believe we are reaching critical mass in our republic on both of these issues. In both of the Tax Day messages I stated that when addressing the problems, we need to be focused on facts, not emotions.

“Facts are stubborn things.” John Adams

However, when it comes to emotions, I believe the most important emotion any individual can have when addressing these, or any other issue is that of attitude.  With the right attitude, any problem or challenge can be overcome.  With a bad attitude, chances are great that things will not only not get better, they will progressively get worse.

One of my favorite authors is John Maxwell.  I am going to share some bullet points from his small book Attitude 101:

  1. Attitudes have the power to lift up, or tear down a team.
  2. An attitude compounds when exposed to others.
  3. Bad attitudes compound faster than good ones.
  4. Attitudes are subjective, so Identifying a wrong one can be difficult.
  5. Rotten attitudes, left alone, ruin everything.

The question is, if we find ourselves with a rotten attitude, can we change it?  Here are some additional points from Mr. Maxwell:

  1. Choice 1: Evaluate Your Present Attitude
  2. Choice 2: Realize That Faith Is Stronger Than Fear
  3. Choice 3: Write A Statement of Purpose
  4. Choice 4: Have The Desire to Change
  5. Choice 5: Live One Day at A Time
  6. Choice 6: Change Your Thought Patterns
  7. Choice 7: Develop Good Habits
  8. Choice 8: Continually Choose to Have a Right Attitude.

When it comes to attitude, I am pro-choice.  We each get to choose the emotion that will lift ourselves up, or drag us, and others down.  It is a non-respecter of person issue.  Attending International School in Switzerland, I saw both good and bad attitudes in each of the 90 + nationalities represented at the school.

What are you going to choose?

I hope you have a blessed week!

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Things Preventing America from Becoming Great Again – EA April 6, 2016

Posted on 08 April 2016 by Scott Cooper

Make America Great Again

In the course of my writing for The Edgefield Advertiser, I have shared that I believe many of the issues facing us today are “non-respecter of person issues.”  I stated I would at times be returning back to this theme.

This week, while working on the farm my index finger got caught in a piece of equipment and ripped out a decent piece of skin, measuring about an inch in length, a quarter of an inch in width and a significant depth – enough to hurt like the dickens, but thankfully not deep enough to catch a vein.

That experience got me to thinking about two non-respecter of person issues: work ethic and intergenerational dependence / training. It got me thinking about both of my grandfathers, and their hands!

I remember thinking both of my grandfathers were extremely smart, hard working men. Neither man went to college; however, both men showed up for work daily, one seven days a week on a dairy farm.  Both provided well – not only for their immediate family, but for extended family during times of need.  I could tell multiple stories of both men meeting needs of others beyond their immediate family.

One died just before I was a decade old and the other died before my sixteenth birthday.  Both men had strong hands.  Honestly, I remember looking at both men’s hands at their viewings just before their funerals and marveling at how used they looked, and how strong at the same time.  I was fortunate to spend time with both men. One, on his farm, which I now have the privilege to work and the other in his multiple gardens.  Both men demonstrated extremely strong work ethic, even in their latter years. In addition, both men demonstrated an ability to have fun with their grandkids.

We are currently in an election year hearing about all government should do, and some say must do for us – but I don’t hear our leaders speaking about the importance of work-ethic, encouraging elders to demonstrate it for the next generation – and perhaps even for the generation following that.  I don’t hear our candidates speaking about the travesty of fatherlessness in our culture, which invariably leads to a lack of grandfathers, and the devastating impact that is having on our nation.

As I reminisced on my grandfathers this week, and the profound impact they had on my life, I realized how blessed I am.  I also realized how deprived of leadership many young boys and girls are today.  This year’s election isn’t going to repair this void in leadership – but if repaired, would have the greatest impact on the next generation(s).

Inter-generational training, the issue of fatherlessness and the improvement of our nations work-ethic are areas, which if improved, could have the greatest impact on making America great again.

Would you consider joining me in prayer for the issue of fatherlessness and work-ethic in our nation?

I hope you have a blessed week!

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Make America Great Again

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