thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Sunday, February 27


Great advertisement from 3M. It's good to see that they believe in their products.

(And yes, it's real money...)


PS - I'll be out of town for a couple of days. Go visit some of the blogs over to the right... Ciao.


Saturday, February 26


Returned last night from a quick trip over to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for a fast, overnight trip to an indoor water park resort. It was a nice time "away" and very, very wet. The highlight of our trip was when Amanda talked my mom into going down a very fast, enclosed waterslide. Those of you who know my mom know that this was nothing short of a miracle. If only dad could have seen that...!

Pictures: Daughter, Julia and my sister, Kellie with son, Ian.


Thursday, February 24

The Fresh Market

They are opening up one of these in a nearby suburb (Geneva.) Has anyone ever shopped at one of these?

The Fresh Market


Wednesday, February 23

Public, um, uh...Speaking

Nothing gives me more energy than communicating passionately to a group of people (the larger the group, the better.) When there is a solid connection and people are zoned in on what is being said it creates an energy and buzz that can’t be gotten anyway else.

(And of course, the greatest buzz happens when a change in thinking or behavior occurs in someone's life and they step forward in their spiritual journey - this is the ultimate goal of why I communicate!)

But public speaking and getting up in front of people is not easy for most people. In fact, the number one fear for most people is getting up in front of a group of people. The latest issue of Fast Company Magazine gives a few great tips to move past the paralyzing fear of public speaking. Here they are:

1. Abandon childhood. We pick up all types of weird beliefs as children that if we do a bad job, people won’t like us. Forget this. Not true.

2. Expose yourself. Stefan Hofmann, directory of the social anxiety program at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders suggests, “The best way to overcome a fear is to expose yourself to it as much as possible.”

3. Get back to basics. Connect with a safe organization like toastmasters or a group that allows you to practice and prepare regularly.

4. Make mistakes. It’s ok. The higher you raise the stakes in your own mind, the harder time you’ll have in front of a crowd.
I’m going to add another:
5. Take a deep breath. There’s something about taking a deep breath that relaxes me every time I get up in front of a group or crowd. It makes all the difference in the world and helps me to relax.


Tuesday, February 22

Full Time Blogging

I'm digging Kottke's risk taking pursuit of making his blog his FULL TIME job.

Why not?




Isn't it ironic?

Canadian Alanis Morissette has become a US citizen.

Link (via)


Hotmail via Outlook

Is there anyone else out there who runs their Hotmail account through their Microsoft Outlook? If so, are you having problems with it synchronizing headers?


Monday, February 21

Mousemobile Update

This guy is a smart one, I'll tell you that. Yesterday I put some peanutbutter on the trap and it ate some of that off.

BUT, the good news is that I'm pretty sure he's gone. I put some cheese on the floorboard last night and it's still there. So, as far as I'm concerned - it's gone.

Which is good, because I'm tired of driving around with rubber bands around the bottoms of my pants.


Saturday, February 19


There's a mouse in my car.

I have no idea how it got in there, but today I was parking the car out on the street in front of our home and I looked down in the floor board and saw a mouse run across my shoe and up inside of a hole at the bottom of my dashboard.

As quickly as I could I grabbed the handle to my car door and tried to open it only to discover that it was locked. I begin praying, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" really fast and finally got the door opened. I jumped/slid out of the car and looked around to see if anyone was watching.

I then went into the house, grabbed a broom and went back out to my car and started poking around in the opening of my dashboard where the mouse ran into. No luck. I got a mousetrap and some cheese.

A couple of hours later the cheese was GONE but the mousetrap was empty. Proof that there IS a mouse in my car. And also proof that this is one smart mouse.

I had to leave this afternoon so I took my wife's car and left mine out on the street. I've resorted to creamy Jiffy peanut butter on the mousetrap. We'll see what happens.


Thursday, February 17

Forkin' Marketing 2

Yeah, so the dessert thing... It went well.

Now I am going to puke.


Forkin' Marketing

The marketing team @ Starbucks has come up with a clever marketing piece. It's an invitation to sample some of their new desserts. The invitation has two small forkes tucked into a sleeve and says on it, "We invite you and a friend to join us from 4 to 5 p.m. on February 17 to sample some of our indulgent treats."

Pretty clever.

And the best part is that today is February 17th.


Leadership Popularity

"Leadership is not a popularity contest."

I heard someone say this today.

Maybe there just needs to be a "rule" when it comes to leadership: If you want to be popular and well liked by everyone, DON'T be a leader!

If you want to be a great leader; you have to have the guts, the chutzpah, the "you-know-what's" to make some tough calls.

It's all about looking at the greater good of the organization or group that you are leading when you make decisions. Pray. Seek counsel. But go with your gut and make the necessary decisions.

Unfortunately, sometimes those calls aren't always seen as "good" or "smart" decisions by others.

So what do you do? Do you avoid making the tough calls to keep everyone happy and comfortable?

Heck no. No. way. in. heck.

The ones who are unhappy with your decisions aren't the ones who were called/summoned/hired/chosen to lead what you are leading. And if you believe, as I do, that leadership is something you are called to do, then when the day comes for you to report to the One who "called" you, guess who they will be interested in hearing from? YOU - not all of the people who were upset with your decision.

Perhaps part of the problem with those who don't want to make the tough calls is disillusionment.

People see the "surface" benefits of being a leader and think that leadership is a bed of roses or "glamorous." Call me crazy or nuts, but I've been in leadership roles all my life - as a volunteer and professionally and I have yet to feel the "glamour." (Laughing right now...)

So, I speak to myself and to all of the leaders reading this: DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. Don't buckle under pressure. Don't expect to be liked by everyone. And lead with resolve and confidence.



A good message...

I shared this with a family a few days ago who lost their 51 year old dad from a sudden, massive heart attack. It may have helped me more than them...

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:9 (The Message)

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. 17These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. 18There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.

1For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven--God-made, not handmade 2 -4-and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move--and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! 5The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less.

6That's why we live with such good cheer. You won't see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don't get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. 7It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going. 8Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we'll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.

9But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that's what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions.


Tuesday, February 15

Baby Name Wizard

Kind of cool...

From the site:

" interactive portrait of America's name choices. Start with a "sea" of nearly 5000 names. Type a letter, and you'll zoom in to focus on how that initial has been used over the past century."
Link (Thanks Sandy)


Monday, February 14

Where do you work?

I work primarily in three places: Work office, Home office & Starbucks.

My “gear” is very mobile, so I can work pretty much anywhere that I have an Internet connection. (If you wonder what I carry with me, check out this post from 8/4/04).

My church office is a comfortable environment where I am able to hone in on projects, meet with staff and others, etc… It is my “zone” for ministry strategizing, phone calls and the daily “stuff”. I spend most Tuesday mornings, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday afternoons in this office (or in our meeting/conference room in front of a HUGE whiteboard). When it comes to studying, it’s not the best place to work – primarily because of interruptions that occur (There’s just no way around this...)

At my church office, I am connected to the Internet via a wireless T-1 connection. I have a killer Harman/Kardon speaker system (including subwoofer) that I plug into my computer (I have the same setup at my home office.) It’s obvious to everyone when I’m at the office. (Sorry guys…!)

My home office is a great space for me to work. It’s an actual “office”, so it’s an environment that makes it easy to get down to business if need be or to just sit back and read a book. I also run wireless Internet via a cable modem in my home.

Amanda just recently gave my office an extreme makeover, so it has a great feel. I love working at home – especially if I’m just returning emails or working on monotonous stuff because I love being around my gals! Plus, the Herman Miller Aeron chair (thanks to you know who...) makes it a good sittin’ spot.

My “3rd” place to work is Starbucks. Are you surprised? There are about a zillion Starbucks within 20 minutes of my office/home. I am a T-Mobile Hotspot user, so I can jump online at any Starbucks location in the Chicago area or nationwide when I travel. For me, Starbucks is a great place to get my creative juices flowing. The energy, the music, the people and the environment are all stellar. Plus the coffee isn’t too bad either...

Thursdays are my “study” day. It’s my day to break away from the familiarity of all three of my regular spots. On any given Thursday, I’ll be sitting in a tea shop in Chinatown preparing a message or sitting in a coffeeshop in Wicker Park seeking God and asking him to help keep my focus in the right place. There’s something really, really healthy for me about getting away from familiar environments. Give it a try sometime…

How about you? Where do you work?


Friday, February 11

Friday Night

Yes, I'm still here.... The Hodge blogosphere was been somewhat light due to a crazy past few days.

Tomorrow morning, I will wake up early to officiate a funeral for a 51 year old man who passed away very suddenly at his home. His daughter came home and found him on the floor. Way, way too close to home...

Finished reading The DaVinci Code last night. Wowzers. More about that later. Great writing and storyline, but man....

Ate at Steak n Shake tonight. I think I'm gonna puke.

Ok, that's it. Goodnight.


Thursday, February 10

Thursday Night

I was just getting ready to write something profound and perhaps even earth shattering; but then I realized that it is 7:58pm, which means that The Apprentice will be on in a few minutes.

Followed by ER.

Gotta fly...


Tuesday, February 8


Playing Now: Daughters
Artist: John Mayer

One of my favorite John Mayer songs is called Daughters. It's a great song and the lyrics are right on.


I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
She's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change

And I've done all I can
To stand on the steps with my heart in my hand
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters, too

Oh, you see that skin
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left cleaning up the mess he made

Boys you can break
You find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong and boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without warmth of a woman's good, good heart

On behalf of every man, looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too


Monday, February 7


I finally got it. And I'm trying so hard not to drop my current reading to get to this one... (That sounds really good, doesn't it?)

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

His last book, The Tipping Point, was excellent and a must read if you haven't already.



A couple of years ago, I read Rudy Giulani’s book, Leadership. As I read his book, the one thing that kept screaming out at me was the importance of accountability. According to the big NYC man himself, accountability was one of the major keys in changing the culture of the New York City government – which in turn helped change the culture of an entire city.

Crime rates went down. Morale went up. The culture of New York City seemed to change in just a matter of a few years - and according to Giuliani, it mostly due to accountability. Giuliani took the bold step of holding his people accountable for their actions (or lack thereof...)

Holding people accountable isn’t always easy – especially if it’s not built into the culture of your organization. When we began our organization’s turnaround, accountability was not high on the list – if on the list at all. For the most part, leaders (both paid and volunteers) could do a great job or a "not-so-great" job and the consequences would pretty much be the same.

When we decided to hold people accountable for their actions it was a tough move. Suddenly, things that were “ok” before were not ok now. A good job wasn’t acceptable – it had to be great. Promised follow through was no longer optional. If something was promised, that “something” would have to be delivered.

Now, a couple of years later, accountability has been built into the culture of our team.

If something is promised, we will make it happen.

If one of us drops the ball on something, we know that ultimately it falls on our shoulders and responsibility is taken.

Excellence isn’t encouraged, it is required.

Did creating a culture of accountability happen overnight? No way! It was tough. I’m pretty certain that one of the reasons that accountability isn’t easy is because if often requires confrontation and uncomfortable conversations.

Of course, having a “team” environment makes the accountability thing much easier, because everyone is interested in the entire ship moving forward VS. individuals just being interested in their own, personal agendas. We want every area to succeed – even if it means jumping in and helping to make it happen.

On the other hand, “teamwork” can’t be an excuse for not working hard on one’s part or having to always cover up someone’s lack of focus or productivity. That’s where the accountability thing kicks in.

What about accountability in your organization? How do you hold people accountable? How about those of you involved in a non-profit organization where you are constantly utilizing volunteers? How do you hold your volunteer force accountable? Share your thoughts!


Sunday, February 6

Hot Spot Annoyances

Hey hot spot users... Here's a good article about avoiding hot spot "annoyances".

Link (via)


Friday, February 4


Does anyone out there know Bono?

Ok, let me rephrase that... I want to go to the U2 concert here in Chicago in May but they are sold out. Any connections out there?



A "somewhat" U2 fan


Thursday, February 3

Gmail Invites

If anyone is interested, I have 3 Gmail invites available to the first three people who email me here.


Google Local

Someone told me today that they keep "Google tabs" on me on a regular basis. Scary... But kudos to the the brainy people @ Google as they continue to blow me away with their innovative ideas.

Their newest offering? Google Local.

Want to find a roller rink in Tuscaloosa?

Bye bye Yahoo - HELLO Google!


Wednesday, February 2

How to pitch an idea

Anyone who has an idea that they want to see fly needs to read this article.

Check out Scott Berkun's new article, "How to pitch an idea." Very practical. Very good.



Tuesday, February 1


The place we went to for our staff retreat had some old McDonald's playground characters. The highlight of our time there was when Amanda and I stood inside of Grimace's stomach. It was an honor. (Ahh...the memories...)


Missional Church Forum

If you are interested in learning more about what it means to be a missional church or how to better connect our emerging culture to Christ, check out the Allelon Missional Church Forum. Great ideas/thoughts/discussions.

On the front of the page it has some "key ideas for the conversation":

    1. What does it mean to be missional?
    2. How does the church hear the voice of God?
    3. How do I help an existing church to begin to think missionally?
    4. How do we impact the consumerism of our culture?
    5. What does it mean to participate in the Kingdom of God?
    6. How does the gospel speak to our culture?
    7. What does leadership look like in a missional context?
    8. What skills do I need to possess? How do leaders become cultivators of communities?
    9. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of ordinary men and women within congregations/communities?


What's Working

Terry Storch (who is the COO of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas) has a great blog and recently asked me to write a guest post on "what's working". You can check it out here.

Terry - thanks for the opporunity!