Saturday, September 15, 2012

Change Doctrine

I awoke this morning with my first conscious thought - embracing change in our lives is what brings improvement.

Let me illustrate. In my daily work I am tasked with introducing Packsize to businesses all across the country who have expressed not only an interest in our value proposition, but are committed to change. We deploy On Demand Packaging, an end-to-end supply chain improvement for corrugated paper. Our founder and CEO, Hanko Kiessner, is fond of asking the rhetorical question, "We can put a man on the moon, but we can't make the right-sized box?" His life's work is devoted to answering that question.

Businesses we target exist and continue to thrive in this country despite all the negativity and regulatory hurdles that swirl around them from the political class, because they are constantly evolving to a higher level of efficiency. They manage budgets. They seek profits. They employ people. They reject wasteful practices. They look for ways to innovate. They are rarely content with the status quo. They embrace disruptive technology like ours.

I train my team to look for the decision makers in organizations who are committed to these principles. Rarely do we have success by engaging low-level managers. When I talk to a purchasing manager who tells me, "We already have established relationships with corrugate suppliers," I know I am speaking to the wrong person. Those people exist for one reason only - to make the status quo work. They defend what they are doing. Change for some managers threatens their existence. No, I tell my team, those aren't the people we are interested in engaging for our conversation about change. We want strategic thinkers who are risk-takers; senior-level executives who are willing to extend themselves into the future lives of their companies. We want the people who are judged by their organizations on their willingness and courage to embrace change. We want the executives that understand change is painful but necessary for their future survival as a company.

Just yesterday, we engaged the strategic thinkers at Panasonic, US Auto Parts, Knoll Furniture, Bosch Rexroth, and Berry Plastics. These are each innovative and dynamic companies with an eye on the future. Our competitors might read this and look with envy on how we managed to engage these stellar companies. Am I worried? No. They cannot begin to compete with what we do and how we do it. We are agents of change, and initially we often impose painful realities on our clients. We get a commitment that they are open to exploring change. But invariably they thank us later. Our video testimonials are testament to that fact.

Our area managers, deployed now around the world, are not traditional salespeople. Instead, they are team captains who are adept at engaging the client with our engineers to develop customized solutions with an eye to improvement. The business case must be made to the satisfaction of each side. We invest a lot of up front consulting to discover the needs of our clients. We are confident in our ability to deliver that change with an accompanying significant cost reduction. We obliterate the status quo. And we are very profitable.

This pulsating Democrat political meme that corporations are somehow to be denigrated and criticized for making profits is wrong-headed and misguided. Profits in the hands of wise entrepreneurs are routinely re-invested and often plowed right back into the operations of their companies so they can continue to grow, thrive and prosper. THAT's where jobs come from. Anyone whose address is Washington D.C. cannot assert they create jobs. I've worked in the private sector my whole life. I can tell you who the job creators are. They are the innovators and the decision makers, the risk-takers, who routinely figure out ways to employ people and meet their payrolls and pay taxes.

They are people like Mitt Romney. They are NOT people like Barack Obama. We all know what makes America tick. In 2008, anxious for change, we made a mistake, but it was only an aberration and we can adjust and correct it this year.

Governments are NOT the solution to ANYTHING. They exist to serve us as the people, and for no other reason. We have allowed our federal government to consume and waste far too many of our resources. We  must now assert CHANGE on the political class on November 6th. We must take remedial action to improve as a country. It will be painful to some (those who don't embrace this year's change agent, Mitt Romney), but it must be done if we are to have any hope of changing the trajectory of America's future.

On a personal level in a gospel paradigm, think about what change means to you. It often comes under the label "repentance." I am not impressed with people who steadfastly reject repentance because they think it is just too painful. They defer, they procrastinate, and they resist change. They "manage" the status quo. I will never forget one young man I interviewed, when he said to me, "Bishop, I just don't want to repent fully because I love my sins too much." It startled me when he said it, but as I reflected later on his words, even after all these years, I realized he was speaking a marvelous truth. Change is often painful. Repentance is often hard at first. Stepping over the hurdles that would impair our desire to change, however, often brings improvement and innovation.

Many people tell me they feel "trapped" by their circumstances. Those people embrace a "victim mentality," suggesting that everything that is going on their lives is beyond their control. I remember so many disgruntled employees I worked with years ago at Zions First National Bank (back in the day), who hated everything they did on a daily basis, but refused to quit and find something better. I resolved I would never be one of them. They are in agony, most of them. They lament that things are the way they are, and they seem helpless to change and improve. They cite factors beyond their control as evidence of their inability to effect real and lasting change in their lives. Happiness seems to elude them. They find little joy in their daily existence.

These are fanciful falsehoods. Their author is the enemy to all righteousness.

In the gospel of Jesus Christ we encounter many seeming paradoxes that are worth considering. They may even be called "divine paradoxes." Let me give some examples and see if this is not true in your life.

"Come unto me, all ye that are labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28).

"Take my yoke upon you. . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-29).

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25).

To be brief, let me just say it - the quest for happiness in this life does NOT consist of lifting up our heads and glorying in our own strengths, skills and successes. Rather, happiness in this life consists in finding Him. That usually involves repentance. We will only repent if we believe He can heal us, and that requires faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. He becomes the true change agent in our lives. We cannot bring about that needed change on our own. It takes someone who can help us manage through the needed changes for improvement. It takes perfection to make one perfect.

We often cite the 32nd chapter of Alma as the definitive explanation for what constitutes "faith." But upon more careful examination you will discover something much deeper. Alma was not making a general statement about faith in his teachings to the people, rather he was suggesting something very specific and singular about faith as the only unseen power that can change one's soul. That's more than saying, "I have faith the sun will rise in the morning skies to the east."

Alma teaches about having enough faith to begin "an experiment" on THE WORD. That experiment is about finding the truth about the divinity of Christ. Only a Divine Redeemer can effect an infinite and eternal change in us. And only Jesus Christ could offer an infinite and eternal sacrifice because He was Himself "infinite and eternal" by His very nature as the sinless Only Begotten Son of the Father.

In the next chapter, Alma, sensing they did not understand his meaning, offers this commentary on his words by citing his listeners back to the words of an ancient prophet, Zenos:

Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship?
For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me.
Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me.
And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer.
And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me.
Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them.
Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations.
Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been cast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst visit them in thine anger with speedy destruction.
And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son. (Alma 33:3-11).

And thus we find once again the power of The Book of Mormon. It is a book replete with references to people and their deliverance from sins and afflictions of all sorts based upon the merciful intervention of God in their lives. We always may find solace and comfort in THE WORD. When we exercise even a particle of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and embrace His perfection, we are healed and we are on the way to perfection ourselves as we change from our fallen state. We see His mercy at work in our lives. In our anguish He succors us. He assures us change is possible and desirable so we may have the long-term improvements we seek. And it is more than disruptive new technology. . .

. . . It is the stuff of which eternal life is made.


  1. And you sure do need to do some repenting son!

    Read your Book of Mormon about inequality in the land. Education brought prosperity, prosperity brought education in an unrighteous society. In a righteous society you care for one another, and grow together equally.

    A good book to read is "Who stole the American Dream" by Hedrick Smith.

    Here is some statistics for you to study, while you repent! Study shows the tax cuts for the bottom 90% created Economic Growth and job creation. Not the top 10%. And especially not the top 1%. Romney and his 1% are not job creators the study shows. Unless your talking about his housekeeper and gardener whom are illegals, paid less than minimum wage. They have only created more inequality in the land, with unnecessary tax cuts for the rich, that only made it worse. And only added more to the deficit especially during Republican Presidents.

    Yes, we are quite the unrighteous society with the greatest divide between the rich and the poor among us!

    Cuts For The Rich Linked To Income Inequality, Not Economic Growth, Study Finds

    The Huffington Post Bonnie Kavoussi First Posted: 09/17/2012 10:56 am Updated: 09/17/2012 11:57 am

    A new study by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has found that over the past 65 years, tax cuts for the rich have not led to economic growth and instead are linked to greater income inequality in the United States.

    The study found that cutting taxes for the rich does not increase saving, investment, or productivity growth. "The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie," the study said.

    Two graphs show the lack of connection between tax rates for the rich and economic growth:

    The authors noted that top-tier tax rates could have an effect on "how the economic pie is sliced." The study noted that in 1945, when the richest families had to pay a marginal tax rate of more than 90 percent, the top 0.1 percent of U.S. families accumulated 4.2 percent of all income gains. In 2007, in contrast, when the top marginal tax rate was 35 percent (which it still is), the top 0.1 percent of U.S. families captured 12.3 percent of all income gains.

    Two graphs from the study show a clear connection between higher taxes for the rich and less income inequality:

    Those findings are inconvenient for the Romney campaign. In a continuation of trickle-down economic theory, the Republican presidential nominee has argued that cutting taxes for the rich would "stimulate entrepreneurship, job creation, and investment," thus "breathing life into the present anemic recovery."

    Romney has said he wants to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, while President Obama wants to extend those tax cuts only on the first $250,000 of taxable income. Romney also wants to slash marginal tax rates and taxes on investment income, as well as eliminate the estate tax -- all of which would disproportionately benefit the rich.

    A recent study by Owen Zidar, a PhD student in Economics at the University of California at Berkeley, also found that tax cuts for the rich are not correlated with economic growth. But Zidar did find that tax cuts for the bottom 90 percent of income earners can stimulate economic growth and job creation.

    (Hat tip: the New York Times' David Leonhardt.)

  2. Thanks for your comments, but we're not going to debate tax policy here. Your sources do little but promote a tired agenda of class warfare among us. Until Zion comes again there will always be economic and class divisions, exactly as prophesied in the Book of Mormon, because the people rejected then as now the law of consecration. I reject totally and wholeheartedly government central planners who would presume to manage our lives to "equalize" us through mandates. Government must serve the people within the boundaries of restrained enumerated powers spelled out in the Constitution. When we come to see it as the panacea for all society's ills, we surrender freedom. This election isn't about politics - Romney vs. Obama, rich vs. poor, Republican vs. Democrat. It's much more substantive and fundamental. It's about taking off the shackles of a government-managed life that would guarantee "equal" success for everyone through unrestrained redistribution of wealth, something Obama passionately believes is needed. Who's plan was that? You give Obama four more years in a lame duck administration with no further accountability to voters, and make no mistake this country will look nothing like the utopian vision he holds out for the unsuspecting.