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Enjoy…the invasion is taking place right in front of you… 

ask some freaking ?’s! no matter where you are in life or how good you THINK you are…ask some mother freaking ?’s! God created life as a cycle. It is always growing and developing. we will never have it figured out. the biggest sign of someone who is arrogant and thinks they know it all is the guy who never asks questions…just talks a lot. Even if you do not talk, if your not asking questions your silence is killing your team. ASK why. ASK how. ASK when. ASK why not. ASK what if. ASK can we. ASK should we. ASK what would happen if we. ASK have you thought about. ASK did we ASK. what is the worst thing that we hear, NO? cool.

Tonight I was watching Israel on TV and was moved by his short oratory on gifts and how people respond to gifts vs anointing. I have had so many conversations on this topic over the course of my life. It is amazing to see how people are raised to a level based on their talent or gifts rather than their anointing. SO OFTEN gifts are confused as anointing.  

The obvious first question is what is anointing? Anointing is a super church word. Bottom line, anointing is the touch of God on your life to accomplish whatever it is He has called you to. It is not some magical power, it is not something you can achieve by doing so much right,in fact the more grace you learn to embrace, the more qualified you are for an anointing (you realize it has NOTHING to do with you). 

So…you have a gift. you are working in that gift and you have all this Hell going on in your life. Well, we have heard forever that the FRUIT is what matters. There are successful people with no anointing, just talent or gifts. Becoming vulnerable creates the ability to maximize gift and anointing.  I have learned to realize the key is not to worry about other peoples anointing, gift, or talent.

At the end of the day, God can use an ass so it is not my responsibility to be the anointing police. What I have to do is manage my life in a way that I can keep an anointing flowing in my life despite the fact I am a very flawed project. It is not about what this person or that person is up to, it is about what I am doing to become the best me I can be for the kingdom. And at the end of the day, you have to be the best you. 

I have not had a chance to follow the show as close as I wanted to this year. I know the one girl is good, you know the one, sore throat, made it in being sick. Tomorrow I will watch the girls but let me tell you, David Archuleta will be your next AI. 1. his voice is retarded. 2. he is a boy hannah montana. 3. he is cute, girls like him. his is cute, moms like him. he is cute, dudes will think he has the potential to be cool. yes, they will fix his jacked up hair, but they do not have to do anything to his voice or how he commands the audience. He takes songs and makes them his…amazing. To bad we have to watch the other 19 people suffer to be second place. This was, American Idol. (seacrests clothes ROCK!!!! total bromance!)

Citizen Cope – Bullet and a Target (sorry official video would not work)MIKA – Relax, Take It EasyThe Feeling – Sewn Buck 65 – Wicked and Weird Dogs Die In Hot Cars – I Love You Because I Have To   

Industries go in ebbs and flows. As it is well documented, the music industry is in the tank. People are being laid off by the week. Retail is shrinking. Promotional venues are disappearing or going digital. The digital growth rates are not accelerating at the same speed as retails demise. Very interesting times. 

A few years ago, right after 911, the airline industry went in the tank. A lot of carriers have not recovered. Some are still fighting, some disappeared, and some started to thrive. Look at SouthWest, SkyBus, Jet Blue (until their recent PR issues). All of these carriers choose to find new creative inventive ways to develop their business and use the difficult circumstances as a springboard to success. The winner in the music industry race will not only be who is around last, but also, who finds the new avenue first. Music is healthy, VERY healthy. However, the recording industry has challenges that we need to fix. At Integrity, we are doing some really cool things and we are blessed to have a long tail on our products. We have an amazing publishing arm, we have resource tools, these all help. We are praying for God to give us the next thing. One of the biggest challenges in finding the “new thing” is not losing sight of what you do and your core competence along the way.

The same scenario applies to your world. What are you doing with your challenges? If you are in real estate, things are difficult. What do you do to find a new way to do what you have always done? If you are in a church or organization, how do you reinvent yourself in a way that will allow you to stay true to what you do, but at the same time develop a new way of accomplishing your goals? Digital, 2.0, all that stuff is great but how do practically enhance your organization today?

From what I have been reading and the conversations I have been having, here is what I have come up with in order to meet these type of challenges:

  1. Create a culture for creativity. No idea is a dumb idea. People should not think that they will lose their jobs for trying something that has never been tried before.
  2. Embrace youth. You have to have some people who are not afraid of the world yet. Balance youth with seasoned veterans, but embrace the youth. Your interns, your 20 somethings, those who have a pulse on the culture, people who have not formed a bunch of habits for problem solving need to be allowed to speak and speak loudly. Have patience with them. They are going to stretch you. Embrace the stretching and balance that with experience. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to try something you have never done. (simply said, not simply exercised)
  4. Provide structure but do not stifle ideas. It is a new day. Each generation has DNA issues that make scary to the status quo. 
  5. Stop looking at the world as secular and spiritual. God created it all. He is a very creative artist. Look for his hand in everything, not the devils. 
  6. Think about how you consume “products”. Now adapt what you do to these forms of consumption. (BE CREATIVE. DO NOT BECOME THE CHRISTIAN OR ALTERNATIVE STARBUCKS…figure out how you can incorporate the Starbucks principals into what you do with your flare and flavor all over it!)
  7. Challenge EVERYTHING! What questions are you asking? Be willing to ask the questions that scare you. Be honest with your questions. Challenge why you have done something in the past. Rate your response and figure out if the return has been worth the investment. 
  8. Don’t be afraid to make changes, but don’t make changes to just change. Have a purpose and a plan behind your actions. 

Today I was @ Borders for a meeting. As I was waiting for Jay to finish his meeting, I went to look at the music section. What I found BLEW MY MIND and made me think about developing this blog. Here is what frightened me so bad: 3 of the worst album packages EVER…EVER! 

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We all know the saying…but what are we saying to our communities? Church, local business, personal appearance, brand package, what are type of message are you communicating. Now I am not talking about a vain type of “I have to be dope” thing, or evan a cocky thing…I am talking about how do you articulate your message? So often we overlook the importance of the package. how you package something is SO important. in music, packaging is MASSIVELY important. In the old days of the music business covers and stacking records high could move units. today, it takes great covers but you have to have amazing music under the cover. This theory applies to life as well. The package can draw attention to your product, be it social or business, but if there is no substance under the package, you will not be able to build life long commitment to your product.

Churches are the worst at this. They so often allow for crappy looking stuff to fly out and expect people to take serious the message they are telling. Reality is the message is probably amazing and could change the consumers life, but the consumer is NEVER going to buy into what your selling (yes, churches are selling the gospel) if you do not take it serious enough to put a good foot forward. On the flip, a lot of churches have a good package but the sermon basically is the same thing or same 5 things or worse, the content sucks and basically we sell those who are looking for relationship a bill of goods.

Develop your content. Put time into what you are saying. Test it, practice it, allow people you trust to objectively tear your content apart piece by piece so that when you actually go live with your content it has already been proven and measured. From songs to sermons, toilet paper to marketing plans…Package your Product RIGHT!

A few months back I posted a text about Leona Lewis here. Well its time for an update. Billboard states that the amazing success of the breakout album is going to keep her working this album and start working a new album in 2009. Look for Leona to hit the streets and tour in 2010.

Leona is an amazing example of working a great song very hard. 1.6 million albums in 3 and a half months. JAY JAY JAY JAY JAY JAY JAY JAY JAY JAY JAY and I saw a bumper sticker today that said: “it all starts with a great song” the story of Leona is just starting. She will be in America soon. Get ready. Until then, enjoy this tasty number from Feb 20 @ the 2008 Brit Awards:

Reading today about trust: Prov 3:5 – trust god from the bottom of your heart, don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for gods voice in everything …

We are not on the hook to figure this life out. We don’t have to always have all the answers. God does not ask us for wisdom, he offers to give it to us if we ask. The real amazing thing is that God says that his voice is in everything…EVERYTHING. Where are you hearing Gods voice? Are you trusting that God is moving or are you trying to figure everything out?

I tend to try to figure things out. Im learning how to just trust, pray, believe and listen….HE IS SPEAKING EVERYWHERE!

Tomorrow we will introduce Joel Auge (O=Jay) and Worth Dying For to the Provident Integrity sales team. When you sign a deal to be on a label, the label has a distribution team. We own a piece of the distribution company, and our label has national distribution. Tomorrow all of the regional sales guys are in town as well as the Nashville based sales team and customer service team for a few days of intensive product education. I grabbed a couple of quick pics on my phone tonight (sorry for the quality, the blackberry is not a great camera). I will report on the response tomorrow.
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