Catch and Release or Catch and Keep? How Letting Go Can Bring Us Together.

Fishing! I love it. I love catching fish, and enjoying the time sitting back, relaxing and spending time with others. When we go fishing, we use a hook in our bait so when the fish bites, they can't get away. Simple, but it works. 
When it comes to hook types, there are two categories. The first is barbed hooks, and the second is barbless hooks. 
A barbed hook is a hook with a second hook that goes the opposite direction. With a barbed hook, once it goes in, it can't easily come out and when it does, it usually damages the fish. We use this type of hook when we want to make sure the fish cannot get away while we reel it in, and barbed hooks are usually used for catch and keep.
A barbless hook is a one way hook. It pierces what it pokes, but it comes back out without much resistance or damage. When we are using a barbless hook, it allows us to catch the fish, and let them go without hurting them further. The downside is sometimes the fish gets away because there is no barb to keep the hook from coming out. Barbless hooks are usually used for catch and release.
When it comes to organizations and their team, there are those who catch and release, and there are those who catch and keep. Those who catch and keep, use barbed hooks. This is where they commonly create environments and circumstances which would keep their employees from leaving in a situation where a separation is best for the relationship. 
On the flip side, there are team members which also practice this same behavior. They setup systems and circumstances which creates dependencies on themselves, and the deeper rooted they become, the more difficult it is for either side to part ways, even when it is best for the relationship.
This behavioral pattern of creating dependency in either direction is like the practice of using barbed hooks in fishing. From either perspective, and in this mode, we are looking to catch and keep, even when it means maintaining the relationship will hurt someone. Why do we choose this method? We want to survive, and anchoring ourselves deeper leads us to believe we are ensuring our survival. While It is understandable, it can also be damaging to the people involved.
Instead of creating a system of mutual dependence, what if we created systems which facilitated independence of both parties? Imagine an experience where we choose to rely on both parties choosing to stay in the relationship, instead of an unhealthy underlying motivation forcing us to stay together. While having a beautiful result, this relational ecosystem of catch and release is both empowering and terrifying at the same time.
Catch & Release Lived Out
In the fishing metaphor, I see mutual independence as catch and release (Barbless). How might this play out in the business arena? At Noodlehead Marketing we believed this philosophy, and it manifested externally with our team when we sought clarity on direction. Where it became most prominent was when we went through a process where we determined what our company's purpose, vision, mission and core values were. We became intentional in our efforts and we believed in surrounding ourselves with team members who shared our intent. After we went through this process, we took our team through the same journey. This is where we all identified our personal purpose, vision, mission and core values. Ultimately, this process resulted in the departure of three team members. 
Through this experience, one of our team members realized where she wanted to go in her life, and the efforts of Noodlehead Marketing were not taking her there. In fact, we had become a distraction to her personal vision. When she realized it, we talked about it, and we came up with an exit plan to help launch her forward. We were sad to see her go, but at the same time we believed it was also worth celebrating. 
A similar situation played out with another team member where we helped launch him into his next career. Our company acted as a bridge to help him switch industries in his job journey. When it finally concluded, we did what we could to help him achieve his goals and launch him forward. 
In our efforts to serve each other in this way, it played out from our intent to catch and release. We didn't own the people who worked with us, so it was best for us to operate with a stewardship mindset. When we know there is an end, it can act as a catalyst for making the most of our time together, and creating the most energy for us to part ways on positive terms. Letting go of control, and trusting others in our relationships, is the type of connection which has a lasting impact on our lives and businesses, not matter how scary it might feel.
When we saw our company, we always saw it as a springboard to what was next. When it was finally time for all us to launch forward by shutting the company down, we had a great foundation to spring from. For those who intend to stay in business for the long run, the best team we can have is the team who chooses to stay because they are in alignment. 
How about you, how will you lead others going forward? With barbed (Catch and Keep) or barbless (Catch and Release) hooks?

September 10th: Content Roundup

You may have been expecting a story/lesson this week, not the content of the month per my post last month. Based on my workload and wanting to provide quality content, I have decided to switch this week and next. This week we get the content of the month and next week you can expect the story/lesson post.

External Content Created By Me

External Content Created By Others - Top 3 Links

If you are only able to check out 3 pieces of content this week, let it be these three...

The Top three links this month are three interviews with Simon Sinek, author of "Start With Why". If you have not seen his TED Talk, start by watching 'How Great Leaders Inspire Action' first.



How Learning To Delegate Can Transform Our Businesses

How Learning To Delegate Can Transform Our Businesses [For BEALEADER]

In his book Entreleadership, by Dave Ramsey, he uses a rope as a visual to convey the concept of delegation. In the analogy, the rope represents responsibility. When it comes to delegation, he suggests we hand someone the end of the rope and feed it to them until all we have left is the end of the rope.

When it came to delegation in my journey, I went through a season where I took the rope, threw it at my team and walked away, usually without communicating expectations. If I came back, and they had not done what I thought they would do, my team disappointed me. Doing this repeatedly caused me to overcorrect in delegation and it became a catalyst for another season of failed delegation. This new season, from my jadedness, was one where I would give my team members rope, but fail to feed them more responsibility.

I had to learn to delegate, direct and lead a team to our defined success. Once we understood the hazards of leadership and delegation, we decided to get specific when it came to delegating authority. Through an exercise which led to the restructuring of our company, we decided each department would have two leadership roles. The first role was what we called the department ‘authority’, and the second role was the department ‘driver’. The driver was responsible for moving the department, its people, projects and actions forward. Department authorities were responsible for decision-making and ensuring the driver was fulfilling their responsibility.

Each department had these two roles and it could be filled by two different people or the same person could wear both hats. In our company, we determined there were five departments to which we would assign these two roles. One of the departments we identified was Planning, which was responsible for planning projects for our clients. I am good at project planning so it made sense I would be a leader in this department. We agreed to assign me the driver role for the Planning Department. At the same time, we also needed to identify the authority of this department. One of our team members, according to Strengths Finder, was an activator so we believed it would be good to have Beth as an authority on this department. Her ability to activate would help trigger our plans into action.

Now, here was a situation where I, as the CEO, was submitting myself to the authority of another team member. This felt different to us, but our eyes opened from this structure of mutual submission within the business. At the end of our exercise, I ended up being an authority on two of the departments and Beth was the authority of three. I had entrusted 60% of the business under her authority.

This new-found trust and clarity led to us seeing past issues we hadn’t fully realized were happening. As we continued working with companies to become purpose-driven and vision focused, we saw these same problems affecting them.

After much reflection, we came to discover these problems fundamentally fell into two categories: Authority/Abandonment and Override.

We would watch authority figures in other organizations chronically override the driver's decisions if they executed it differently than the way the authority would have done it. Imagine for a moment you are driving your friend’s car. He owns it, but he is letting you drive. He is sitting in the passenger’s seat, and as you are driving down the freeway he grabs the wheel and attempts to take control of the car. In the struggle, the car veers off the road and into a tree. CRASH!

In business, this happens all the time. The owner, or authority, tries to take the wheel back leading to the crash of the car. I call this driver override, and what we found is this leads to timid driving. If every time we take the wheel back from those who are driving for us, they start to question their own decision-making, and they become less willing to take a risk. They begin thinking about what their authority would do instead of what is best for getting us towards our vision.

Why be creative if every time we take a risk, we will be overridden?

Now imagine another scenario, the owner of the car gives the keys to his 10-year-old son. He has not taught him anything about driving, and he tells him to go to the store. If he is able to start the car, this scenario ends up in a crash. Hopefully, their incompetence leads to a minor crash and not a horrific one leading to the death of people.

In organizations, this scenario happens over and over. When authority figures delegate without instruction or direction to those unprepared, they end up faltering. The irony in these situations is we tend to think it’s the other person’s fault, and we fail to see our own neglect in the process.

While there are times when we need to override or abandon, I believe it is best to minimize these situations and to make sure when we do it, we are doing it intentionally. Just because we have the authority to do something doesn’t always mean we should.

In reflection, when we learn to define our roles it teaches us how to submit to each other. When we learn how to submit to each other, we realize how much chaos we create when we were operating without the clarity. With newfound clarity, we can now quickly and easily see how the hazards of delegation affect us all. We found this revelation to be part of the catalyst which helped us change.

So, where are you on this journey? What is your next step in understanding the authority you have and the authority you come under?

This article was originally published on

Photo by Dhruva Reddy on Unsplash

A Peek Into My Life - Lost Ring & Slowing Down - August 2014 Update

a peak into jason's life
Blog Schedule Update
If you have not noticed, I have been a bit inconsistent with posting content on the website. In light of the work which has been coming my way, I have not been able to post as often as I did in the beginning of the year. With this reality, I am updating my blogging schedule.
Here is what you can expect going forward. 
On the first Monday of the month, I will post a question of the month. On the second Monday of the month, I will post a story/lesson blog post. On the third Monday of the month, I will post the best links of the month. On the fourth Monday of the month, I will post an update of me and my life (like you see here). If there is a 5th Monday, I will post something special or random :)
Also, if you have not already, I would encourage you to sign up for email updates. If you do, you can expect to receive an email every week when I post on the blog. Click here to subscribe.
My last post here was about debt, click here to read it... 
Also, I am now a resident writer for #beAleader, click here to read my first article on delegation...
Lost Wedding Ring
We recently went up to Nashville to see my two sisters and their husbands. It was a great time, unfortunately while we were swimming at the lake my wedding ring came off, and it was lost. I now have a replacement ring from Chuck E Cheese from my dear wife :) While it is not fun to lose something this important, is did act as a catalyst to think about my marriage, what matters and the journey we have been on.
Reading The Scriptures
A few months ago, I finished an almost 2 year long journey to read the Bible from the beginning to the end. It was a powerful experience and one I encourage you, if you haven't, to do. As a follow-up, I decided to change my approach to my daily Bible reading and instead of reading more, I decided to read less. I am now reading one section of each chapter multiple times. I am thinking about each sentence, what it means and what commentaries say about it. It is a much more deep meaning focus. I started in Matthew and I am currently in Luke.
Work Overview
In regards to work, I am freelancing helping business owners and leaders solve their problems. I am doing a variety of the work (Business consulting, marketing strategy, Joomla Web design, SEO, project management, etc...)  I have done since I started working! God continues to be my salesman, and people keep coming to me with projects as we continue to live in abundance. It is interesting because when I first started Noodlehead I networked like crazy meeting new people all the time. I was looking for the next project. Unfortunately, I met a lot of people and abandon many of them. I failed to maintain relationships with the people I was meeting. In this season of life, I am focused on maintaining relationships and not look for work, and the work continues to come my way.
Also, even though we shut down Noodlehead Marketing 5 months ago, it seems God is using the current season to tie up many loose ends. There are old friendships which are moving on, old friendships which are going deeper. There are new communities and friendships being born. He is teaching me many things with the different projects I am working on and situations which are arising from these.
The past 5 months have been really special for me. In many ways, I continue to be surprised by what God is doing and it is helping to soften my heart where I have been jaded. It is hard in different ways, but the growth and progress has been beautiful. I tend to go through days and sometimes weeks where my anxiety is triggered as I reflect on the past, stress about the future or fear realities in front of me. 
I recently gashed my eyelid and I had to get three stitches. I told the doctor I wanted him to help me, and I wanted to hold still. I knew I couldn't do it even though I wanted to. He had to hold my head and I had to do everything I could to not move. That is how I feel now, I want God to continue to heal and help me, but I struggle to just hold still.
Final Words 
I don't know how this current season will play out, but I know I was prepared for this season in my last one. I also know this season is preparing me for my next one. Ultimately, I want to be together with God, my wife, my family and my community. I'm not trying to go anywhere because what I love is right in front of me, and as long as God continues to financially sustain us through freelancing I will continue to do it.

The Financial Debt Trap - A Zealous Hiring - Part 1 of 3

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Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
Debt. It can bring up a range of opinions, feedback and feelings. Throughout my life, my father did everything he could to teach me the dangers of debt and he urged me to steer far away from it. In some ways, I heeded his advice. What I did not realize was there are indirect roads to debt, especially when it comes to business. 
When we started Noodlehead Marketing, I committed to refrain from going into debt. Unfortunately, what I did not realize was there were other bad decisions I could make which would lead me to do the very thing I committed not to do. Here is the first of three stories on how Noodlehead Marketing fell into the debt trap.
The First Trap - A Zealous Hiring
In late 2008, I needed a sales person, or at least I convinced myself I did. I was not going to change my mind. It was just a matter of finding someone to fill the role.
There was a gentleman I looked up to who recommended someone he knew. Because of the state I was in and how highly this recommendation was given, I was now fixed on hiring this person. Any flags that came up were of no concern, because hiring this person was going to give me what I wanted, a sales person. 
As you can probably guess, after 3 months he was not generating the results I needed. Now to be fair, he was switching industries, products, and we did not have a good sales system in place. Everything was going against him to start with, so unless he knew his stuff coming in, there was really no realistic way for him to be successful.
In addition, I had a hard time holding him accountable because I felt like I needed him. My fear was, if I held him accountable, he might leave. After the three months had gone by, we ran out of money to pay him. At this point I should have cut the cord and let him go, but I was too attached and committed.
I needed it to work. We just needed more time. 
Underlying all this, I was struggling to acknowledge I had made a mistake and instead of facing this harsh reality, I chose to avoid it.
From my experience and observation, I have found debt tends to be a symptom of avoidance. Instead of waiting or addressing the issues we really need to discuss, we instead choose to procrastinate them. Borrowing money allows us to avoid the issue and push it off into the future. 
So instead of cutting it off with this sales person, we continued for 3 more months hoping things would turn around, and he would be bringing in enough income to pay for himself. It wasn't enough time, and ten thousand dollars of credit card debt later I decided to make a change. Instead of letting him go, I prolonged our agony and changed his compensation to commission only. It was the easy way for me to let him go.
Reflecting on the situation, I look back and realize my problem was not the lack of a sales person. I had learned about the idea of hiring a sales person, and this became a shiny object. It was my silver bullet to success and I decided I was going to get what I wanted. When I got it, I was not willing to let go, even when it hurt the company. It was in this place where we maintained a cycle which was destructive to me, the sales person and the company. 
When we ran out of money and we had to go into debt to continue, we should have decided to lean in and deal with the reality at hand. By doing whatever I could to escape reality, I caused it to get much worse. 
What shiny object has pulled you into debt?

July 30th: Best Links Of The Week


Latest blog post: Our Stories Conquer (link no longer active) Question of the week

If you are only able to check out 3 pieces of content this week, let it be these three...

Top 3 Links

Go First by Seth Godin

Having God's "Unreasonable" Faith by Oswald Chambers

When we look at these words of Jesus, we immediately find them to be the most revolutionary that human ears have ever heard.

Secret #12: Know You Hit the Jackpot By Shaunti Feldhahn

To have a happy marriage, look for ways to give your spouse most of the credit for your relationship success – and you will live in regular, conscious gratitude as a result.

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Jason Scott Montoya, Atlanta Georgia - Copyright © 2013-2018 
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