thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Friday, December 31


Amanda and I want to wish you and yours a Happy New Year! May 2005 be your best year ever.




I've learned something about myself these past couple of days.

I'm not a snowboarder.

I ski. I prefer to be on my feet more than my butt. Plus, it's just downright akward having your feet locked into a funky position - especially when you are falling every 4.3 seconds.

I tried...


Wednesday, December 29

Organizational Culture 2

In my first post about organizational culture, I wrote about the cultural transition that we have experienced in the past two and half years and specifically, about the importance of leadership by example - taking initiative and being intentional about modeling what it was we were expecting from those inside of our organization (which for us is a church…).

Another thing that helped our organization make a major shift was getting our words aligned and finally getting to the place where we were all...

2. Speaking the same language.

As we sat down to discuss the future of what we believed we were "called" to be as a church, we began noting words that seemed to clearly represent that direction. For us, some of those words were: connection, relevant, authentic, community, leadership, gathering and partnership.

Before the transition, we had never been very intentional about using these types of words. So to help ourselves become intentional, we would literally script out every announcement, every message and every piece of “communication” that would be released by our staff. On the surface, it seemed somewhat micromanaging, but it got all of us on the same page and speaking the same language.

We’ve also gotten on the same page as it relates to our mission. Almost everyone who attends our worship gatherings can probably recite, from memory, what our mission is.

Our mission is very simple, to the point and easy enough for people to remember and understand. Every time we have a church community gathering, we state our mission and usually offer just a few seconds worth of explanation as to what that mission means in relation to the gathering we are having at that moment.

Keeping the mission in front of people is huge and allows a couple of things to occur. For one, it gets the mission right out there in the open. And secondly, if people don’t like it or are having trouble connecting with it, they will usually realize it right away.

One of the things we've come to realize is that our church isn't for everyone. And that’s ok! There is no way we can cater to everyone at one time. We just have to do our best to connect with the people God has placed around us in our community.

Speaking the same language was a huge step for us – and it continues to be something we strive towards. It’s not uncommon at all now to hear people talking in their smaller gatherings or in the hallways or in meetings using the same words that we made sure we spoke on a regular basis.


wed night...

No phones (including cell). No fax machines. No broken bones.

Only high speed wifi and lots of DVD's (Seinfeld seasons 1-3). And some nice Starbucks coffee.

Skiing in the 21st century. Nice...


Tuesday, December 28

Devastation in Asia


So far 55,000 reported dead.

I'm online IM'ing a missionary friend in Bangkok to find out how to get involved. I would like to find a local church (or churches) in the area to connect with.

May God's peace surround these people's hearts.


the thrill of northern wisconsin...

the thrill of northern wisconsin...


Monday, December 27

Getting away...

Tomorrow (Tue) morning, we will be heading up north to Indianhead Mountain in Upper Peninsula, Michigan for a few days of snowboarding & skiing. I've committed myself to snowboarding this year. My first attempt was several years ago and I tore my knee up pretty good that time.

Stay tuned - I'll try and post some pics while away.



Saturday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

Wow, it's here.

Obviously a somewhat bittersweet Christmas for all of us - but still a time of celebration, nevertheless. We are surrounded by some of the greatest people in the world and the word "thankful" doesn't even really describe how we feel.

Merry Christmas to you. May God's peace be upon you and those you love.

The picture... Ian (my nephew) and our daughters, Julia (shorty) and Elise (the red head).


Wednesday, December 22

Happy Birthday Dad

Today, my dad (Larry Hodge) would have been 61 years old. As most of you know, he passed away on October 12th.

I have no idea how old he was in thie picture, but he's got quite the Alfalfa thing going on. That's back in the days when hair was actually an issue for him. :)

Happy 61st Dad. I miss you so much.


apple lust (@ apple store, oak brook)

apple lust


Tuesday, December 21

Recognizing Employees

The Best Ways to Recognize Employees

by Tom Rath - Coauthor of How Full Is Your Bucket? (Gallup Press, August 2004)


Monday, December 20

iPod-ize yourself

Turn any digital picture into an iPod ad.

Link (via)


Hello Kitty Mastercard

My five year old wants one of these.



Sunday, December 19

sunday p.m. chinese take-out run

sunday p.m. chinese take-out run


Thursday, December 16

Is the boss's idea always the right idea?

I just got a phone call from a friend who was very frustrated at a specific situation that occurred at his work place. A problem occurred and the “boss” pulled the team together and mandated that everyone on the team come in on a Saturday (which is not a normal work day) to help fix the problem.

The staff as a whole was very frustrated by this. For a number of reasons.

For one, they don’t think the idea is a good idea. And unfortunately, the boss isn’t open to hearing it. (They all feel like the idea is more of a band-aid solution to a problem that needs to be addressed down to the core...)

Secondly, for them to come in on Saturday and help “fix” the problem will require almost all of them to rearrange their busy schedules (spending time w/ family, etc…). But to tell you the truth, I don't think this is really the problem.

So what is the problem?

First of all, sometimes problems do occur and it does require the team to pull together and fix it. BUT, is the best solution always the boss’s solution? Not necessarily.

Why not pull the team together, present the problem and ask the team to collectively come up with a solution? I guarantee you that if they pull together as a team and come up with a solution TOGETHER, there will be a much higher degree of “buy in” and the staff will take a great deal of ownership of the idea. And if true ownership occurs, and the team believes in what they are doing - they'll more than likely do whatever they have to do to make it happen, even if it means adjusting their schedules and working all night or on a Saturday or even perhaps a holiday.

IF the only solution is the boss’s idea, then the boss sure as heck better be able to sell his idea to the team and get them on board. And most of the time this can only happen if the boss is willing to help journey the team to the conclusion that he/she has come to.

What do you think?



Interesting concept.


Organizational Culture

Note: I've had a handful of people ask me recently some questions in regards to the transition that we've been through as a church, so I thought I would start sharing some thoughts along these lines.

It seems like I’ve had several discussions the last couple of weeks with people in regards to organizational culture.

I think when it really comes down to it, the goal of any organizational change or transition is really to see a shift in the culture of the company/church/business/etc...

Changing a few words or adding a new slogan alone doesn’t change one’s culture - but it can certainly play a major role in seeing a new and improved culture emerge.

Less than three years ago, the culture of our church was one that lacked leadership accountability, was very insider focused, and was (for the most part) void of healthy environments for people to grow and expand in their relationship with God.

Things have changed.

Are we perfect now? Of course not! BUT, we’ve got a clear cut mission which just about everyone knows, we are intentionally focused on creating environments where people (regardless of their spiritual background or condition) can feel safe while taking steps forward on their spiritual journey. And as hard as it can sometimes be, change is embraced and is quickly becoming the “norm”.

How does that happen? Good question. I’m not totally sure, nor do I feel very qualified to try and figure it all out. But the more I think about it, the more I can identify a handful of things that we did (mostly by accident). So, I’ll start with one today and add onto the list as the days go by.

1. Leadership by example.

Since day one of our transition we have been very intentional about connecting with people (Christ followers, unchurched people, whatever…) in our community. Believe me - it’s much easier to ask people to join with you in that endeavor if they see you (the leaders) actively doing it.

It’s as simple as spending time with those that we feel "called" to connect with - which for us is unchurched people. We would be foolish to exclusively spend time with “churched” people if our mission is to lead people (churched, unchurched, non-churched, seekers, blah, blah, blah, blah...) PERIOD.

Part of creating a culture where people are connecting regularly with others is to tell stories of how YOU (as a leader) is actively engaged in connecting with people who you are trying to reach. Tell the stories!

Modeling leadership is HUGE. Anyone can get up and teach leadership principles or teach a lesson from a John Maxwell book, but it's a whole different thing to live it, breathe it, sweat it and contaminate others with it.

Our emerging culture isn't intersted in lip service when it comes to leadership - they want the real thing. And the real thing isn't perfection either. It's authenticity. And man, is that refreshing...


Tuesday, December 14

Dunkin Donuts VS Starbucks

John Moore from Brand Autopsy has some interesting thoughts on whether or not Dunkin Donuts can rise above its pricier competitor, Starbucks.


What do you think?


Why Ask Why?

Seth Godin gives us good reason to ask "why?" on his blog.

From his post:

The single most efficient (and lowest cost) technique for improving your operations is answering the why questions! You should embrace these people, not send them away.


The Red Cup

The latest in Starbuck's online viral video marketing for the Holidays.



Monday, December 13

Grandma Dong

Grandma Dong (Amanda's grandmother) passed away over the weekend. You may remember, her husband, (Grandpa) Patrick Dong, passed away just a few weeks ago.

What a year this has been...

We will miss this wonderful woman of God who inspired us all with her courageous and persistent faith. She was a beautiful person who will live on in our hearts forever.

Thank you for touching our lives Grandma Dong.


Friday, December 10


Got a good caption?


Thursday, December 9

New York Changing

New York City - then and now.

Great photographs.

Link (via)


Wednesday, December 8

A good talk...

I'm sitting alone in our conference room in front of a giant whiteboard drawing symbols and boxes and arrows attempting to move ideas out of my head and onto a surface. And it feels good. Real good...

I had a conversation today with a friend that really gave me a good push. You know, those kind of people who you converse with and you walk away stirred up like mad and ready to take on the world? Man, did I need that... It was one of those revealing conversations that are sort of like standing in front of the mirror naked and realizing that there's more of you than there was a few years ago.

It's good to know good people.


A Mega-Church Experience

Experience a visit to a mega-church in Minnesota through the eyes of an unchurched newcomer. Interesting article...

Link (via)


Monday, December 6

"How are you doing?"

I've been asked that question almost daily (and sometimes multiple times in a day) and for some reason it's somewhat difficult to answer. After all, what does "well" look like after losing someone so close to you?

I suppose I could be in worse shape than I am. I can still take a shower, comb my hair and look as good as I did before. But I suppose if one could see my insides, they would probably look a bit twisted up and fairly dishevled.

It's been a tough ride.

Probably the best moments are when I actually forget that my dad is gone. Unfortunately, those moments don't last very long.

Going into the office isn't easy. Walking down the hall and past his office (that hasn't been touched since he died 7 weeks ago) doesn't make it any easier either. I usually just walk by it, stop and pat his door with my hand.

The oddest part about all of this is that I find myself still not really believing that this has happened. There are mornings that I will wake up and just pause to really ponder whether or not this is all true. Sometimes I run across the memorial program from his funeral and I just stare at it and ask myself, "How can this be?"

Someone told me that since I am so surrounded by "DAD" everyday, that it may make it easier to work through the grief. I'm waiting for the "easy" part to kick in. BUT, I can't say all of this and ignore the fact that there are "good" (good as in "just ok") days too.

I'm grateful for the memories. And I suppose that at some point the memories will bring joy instead of saddness.

A person's life is truly worth celebrating. Especially this one.


How to Give and Receive Criticism

Scott Berkun from has some great tips/ideas on how to give and receive criticism.



Saturday, December 4

Happy Birthday Kellie! (My "big" sister...)



Friday, December 3

Chris Tomlin

This is what happens when your blogging activity has been less than stellar lately... You steal another person's post. And the chosen one for today is my friend, Kevin. (Thanks man.)

Thanks to Kevin, I've dug into "MY MUSIC" archives and am now listening to Chris Tomlin's new CD. If you are an "ORCHARD" person and enjoy what you hear on Sunday AM's - you'll really enjoy his CD. It's called "Arriving". You can buy it here.

Back to studying...

Have a great Friday!


Thursday, December 2

View from my home office...


Wednesday, December 1

Ungaurded Moments: Ronald Reagan

Pete Souza worked as one of President Reagan's photographers for the last five and a half years of his presidency. Souza has put together a fantastic collection of his photographs at Musarium. (A very cool site btw...) You can also listen along with his audio comments.

Link (via)