Inner sanctum


In our local dog park the city put a fence around these young trees that protects them from misuse + abuse by too many people and dogs, but lets all the good things in: light, air, rain, snow, birds and squirrels.

I took this picture in the afternoon, the day after a fresh snowfall. Every square meter of ground around the tree enclosure is trampled and tossed.

But with-in the enclosure all is calm.

I think we all need a retreat that allows the good stuff in but keeps the madness at bay on both professional + personal levels if we're to do our best. It’s why I’ve come to love working alone - from home.  



The strategic use of colour


This piece of Diablo sandpaper (made in Switzerland) is a WONDERFUL example of the strategic use of one colour to defend their brand position.

Diablo uses the colour red to distance the brand far away from all the other brown (wood) and grey (metal) sand-paper options out there (mostly from China).

The brand also uses the same red for all their cutting tools - making it easy for users to connect “the dots” and to help reinforce brand loyalty: it quickly sorts the world into two piles: a small one with the correct red Diablo parts in it, and a very large one with everything else in the world in it.

Simple + brilliant.



Robin Hood restaurants serve paying clients by day, homeless people by night


By Laura Brehaut, December 22, 2016

Four Robin Hood restaurants opened in Spain in 2016, devoted to serving dinner to the needy free of charge. By day, the four restaurants are quintessential Spanish bars, serving coffee and snacks to paying customers, but at night, homeless people can dine at tables set with tablecloths, cutlery and crockery, free of charge. Father Ángel García Rodríguez, president of non-governmental organization Messengers of Peace (which he founded 54 years ago), came up with the concept. The model addresses the fact that it’s difficult to “regain a sense of dignity and purpose” when eating in a soup kitchen. “To get served by a waiter wearing a nice uniform and to eat with proper cutlery, rather than a plastic fork, is what gives you back some dignity”. “The inspiration came from Pope Francis, who’s spoken again and again about the importance of giving people dignity, whether it’s through bread or through work. So we thought, why not open a restaurant with tablecloths and proper cutlery and waiters? People with nothing can come and eat here in the restaurant and get the same treatment as everyone else. It’s just common sense.”



Super Bowl commercial anticipation

America was abuzz (for weeks) with the anticipation of this year’s Super Bowl ads. On Sunday night America went wild because it was a fantastic football game with a great ½ time show, that was interspersed with some really good ads.

There’s a very important lesson here for those of you who take brand building seriously: 

people look forward to, enjoy and will refer other people to a good ad.

It’s that simple. 

Set your sights high and say no to bull-shit, politics and compromise. 



Faith, hope, + business planning

Because most of the small businesses that I work with have very limited market assessment and business planning resources and budgets, they often stick with what has worked for them in the past and hope that things will work out well in the coming year. These business owners are hoping that all the business variables they don’t know, or can’t control, will not affect their business adversely.  

Their (agnostic) hope is a lot like a (religious) prayer: “Well, this is the best plan I can come up with given my resources and what I know. I pray to God it all works out.”

This train of thought got me wondering how faith based organizations add prayer to their business planning processes. I asked my brother, Reverend Martin A. Wehrmann for help.  Here’s his response to me. 

“Churches are also worldly institutions. They require savvy business minds, careful planning to be established or to revitalize, they require concrete short, and long-term planning, cost estimates for work to be done & financial planning for expansion & growth down the road that is planned. They must identify who has the gifts, skills and passion to carry out the work, who will lead - what are their gifts/skills etc.  How 'big' is what we plan? Will it put us at risk or is it a minor but promising change or enterprise?

Prayer is not an 'extra' that is added to all the above. When people of faith feel they are called to change direction, begin a new ministry, correct their direction etc., they have probably come to this point through prayer and discernment. Perhaps a need has stared them in the face for years & one day they came to its realization? We pray about most things to determine that we are hearing God correctly. We meet both in worship and in business meetings regularly to discern whether we are 'hearing' our calling clearly. Our worldly skills have been given to us by God just as our prayer-life and faith has been. So, the discerning process is whereby we proceed, also checking whether what we know & believe are doable and likely to succeed. We "count the cost" but don't shy away from taking a risk for the "good".  Sometimes, we do not succeed. Different faith-groups will understand that differently. Is it failure? Was it our pride? Did we miscalculate? Was it our testing? What did it teach us? Where did we go wrong & not listen carefully? Did a single person or committee let us down?

This morning I was told that a local sister Church held their last service today. Just across the street we closed our church about 3 years ago. These decisions are often financial, but they also express the belief of the Church that a handful of people cannot maintain buildings or do the ministries they once could. Faith enables them to 'close the doors' & to join again with another congregation and joyfully minister with them for God's glory.  There's no chicken or egg scenario here. Our faith opens our hearts and eyes and enables us to discern God's Will or understand the Word of God we need to heed. It's that simple; it's that painful, it's that exciting and that hope-giving. God enables the entire person to engage themself in our relationship with God."

Reverend Wehrmann's take-away on the subject of faith based business planning is this: "faith keeps us asking God for direction, correction and inspiration. We believe and trust that God will be in the work we perceive God is calling us to, and which we do in order to give God glory. The business plan comes when we've done all of our homework."
Frank Wehrmann's take-aways on business planning are these:
1.  Blind faith is no way to plan, or to run a faith based business, or an agnostic business. 
2.  Your faith in God is not a planning short-cut, but it can be a planning resource. 
3.  Great advertising, marketing, sales + operations support a good plan, but they are not your plan. 


This article is also related to "faith" + "planning" but looks at (agnostic) faith as an option ID + evaluation tool:  Article (A)

This article shows you how a Calgary window manufacturer employs faith to improve productivity:  (Article (B)