The Power of Two

I have been thinking a lot about how much easier things are when you have someone by your side. Somehow in their presence, we can then find in us the extra stamina we need to finish the job or complete the task. Their “being there” makes all the difference.

Today I watched our daughter run in her first ever cross-country race. The day was hot and humid and the grass trodden Virginia field boasted warm air, people, dogs, cars and waiting ambulances…just in case a runner “goes down”.

I was able to follow the racers by criss-crossing the field and intersecting the runners as they emerged for short intervals from the dense woods that shouldered the open field. Parents and coaches traced the sideline offering words punctuated with heartfelt emotion in an effort to move heat-weary runners up the approaching hill or down a long, protracted decline.

The last leg of the race was brutal as the sun reached its 12 noon zenith.

It was there I caught my daughter running haltingly up the final incline toward the finish. She glanced toward me as I delivered words of encouragement across the dividing tape. Then I saw in her faltering expression…one that said…I can’t do this…I can’t go even one step further…I am going to give up….

My next impulse was just that…an impulse to join her in completing the journey. I simply began to run alongside the boundary separating runner and audience…dodging onlookers and fixing my gaze and words only on her.

Running together, side by side her pace evened out until she glimpsed the gateway to the finish. Then her stride lengthened. Her gait increased and she finished the race.

For those few seconds “the power of two” brought the success to one. Running in tandem for those critical moments delivered the needed encouragement to finish what she intended all along…but now was able to complete.

How often in each of our lives when out of shear exhaustion or seasons of overwhelming challenge do our eyes look desperately into the crowd of onlookers and hope to catch the gaze of one who will both understand and act in our behalf? When we are fortunate enough to find that one…eyes fix and a journey of two begins until the finish line comes into view and the last strides bring the joy of victory.

Places Please….

Places Please….

In my barn-office, as in the bull-pen at work, place matters.

In fact where you are physically placed, your general position and your proximity to others really does matter and will ultimately register on the scale of performance.

But as I said earlier…what holds true in the barn holds true in the office….let me explain:

Our small farm is a management experiment real time…except instead of John, Jennifer and Jason…we have Zorro, Mini-Me, Brownie, and Hershey. Early on, the morning barn ablutions were characterized by lots of aberrant behavior, noise and a general atmosphere of chaos.

Grain robbing. Pushy attitudes. Head butting and bowl biting. This was less than pleasant and did not add to the overall ambiance of this bucolic Albermarle farm.

In time, we figured out that if we placed the animals strategically throughout the barn….tying them to post or pin…we could avoid a large degree of disorder.

Then we realized that some were better next to one another than others. Their proximity actually increased their well-being and brought a greater sense of calm to the whole herd.

Finally, we recognized that positioning one animal in front of another fell into their natural rank and order acknowledging a new level of respect and decency for each.

So what are we getting at here?

In work teams as in the work environment, place, position and proximity matter.

A savvy leader will configure his or her team in such a way to physically maximize and harness the very best of each team member. They will thoughtfully consider placing one complimentary skill-set next to another allowing for mutual exchange and the development of strong technical and strategic alignment.

The best leaders will consider a team member’s position as a resource to be shared. Seniority in proximity with the rookie engenders an opportunity to mentor and teach…all in an effort to raise the bar of performance excellence throughout the team.

When place, position and proximity are carefully considered, a level of certainty that breeds confidence results in the team. A quiet strength prevails and performance is enhanced.

So whether “barn or bull-pen”, the best leaders think place, position and proximity to drive team performance, build success and arrest the chaos that lurks when the “herd” is left unguarded.

Walking Faithfully in the Marketplace….

We hear a lot of talk today about the “marketplace minister”…

That’s the person who is able to navigate through the everyday interactions of their work life and bring their faith in Christ to life within it.

They don’t rely on stained glass windows or worship music to trigger their sense of God’s abiding presence…they take it with them wherever they go and in whatever situation they encounter.

This is a 24/7/365 approach that has no seams….

What makes this marketplace minister so effective?

Three key qualities come to mind….

The first is Congruency, the second is Humility and the third is Versatility.

Congruency. James 1:8 tells us “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. Being double minded means lacking congruency between our faith and our walk. Congruency is defined as displaying “agreement or harmony”.

In short, this means “walking the talk and talking the walk”…in the marketplace you call “home”.

Humility. Tim Keller talks of humility being “so shy”. So true…we see it show it’s face so infrequently in the marketplace. It is defined as “a modest view of ones own importance” (Webster).

Philippians 2:3 states “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”.

Displaying authentic humility in the marketplace is so rare that it becomes it’s own beacon…you can’t help but be noticed when you are authentically humble.

Versatility. 1 Cor. 9:22 “To those who are weak I became weak. That was to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that in all possible ways I might save some.”

This is all about understanding your audience and moving in rhythm with them. It is all about meeting people where they are and walking with them for the part of the journey to which you are invited.

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Versatility is about adapting to the needs of others while continuing to be your self. It’s about a personal “nimbleness” that allows you to explore, discover and guide as the relationship permits.

Congruency, Humility, Versatility….the 3 Important Keys to being an effective marketplace minister.

Take them with you wherever you go…

*Biblical references from the NIV or King James versions

Being the Change….

Tinamover, Doc Harrill, has taken Gandhi’s quote…..”Be the Change you wish to see in the world”  to heart in his own backyard. His passion for people and community have led him to utilize his extensive skills in audio recording, mixing, DJ-ing, hip-hopping and teaching  (see  ) to make a real difference in Cleveland’s urban communities.

The FRESH Camp (see is a synthesis of all his talent and promises to change the way the youth in his neighborhood think…now that’s what we call “being the change”.

“Give the little that you have, just make it your best,” Doc raps to all in hearing distance. “That’s how we cultivate FRESH.”

Tinamou Consulting honors people like Doc Harrill for their pioneering spirit and unwavering commitment to make this world a better place for us all.

Find out how Doc launched FRESH Camp in collaboration with Tinamou Consulting LLC –Home of LeaderLaunch

To contact Doc see: or email